Caspian Sea Legal Status Can Be Determined At Next Summit
The Caspian Sea’s legal status can be determined at the next Caspian States summit, Khalaf Khalafov, Azerbaijani deputy foreign minister, said at a session of the ad hoc working group on the Caspian Sea’s legal status in Baku Jan. 25.
“A lot of work on the draft convention on the Caspian Sea’s legal status has been conducted,” he said.
“It is necessary to unite efforts to reach agreements on a number of issues regarding the final status of the Caspian Sea,” Khalafov said.
“We intend to agree on a number of uncoordinated issues as part of the negotiations,” he added.
“The full approval of the draft convention will create the preconditions for determining the status of the sea at the level of heads of state,” he said.
He added that Azerbaijan hopes for the speedy delimitation of the Caspian Sea and proceeds from the agreements reached among Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Russia.
“A mechanism will be created for effective cooperation of the Caspian states as a result of rapid solving of existing issues,” Khalafov said. “In particular, it is necessary to agree on the aspects of the access of the Caspian countries to other seas and ocean, the right for passage of warships through the territorial waters of other countries and rules of laying cables and pipelines.”
Khalafov added that Baku is interested in the speedy coordination of issues on the central and southern parts of the Caspian Sea.
“I hope that the issues to be discussed in Baku today as part of the negotiations in accordance with international maritime law, respect for the sovereign rights of the Caspian countries and for the sake of mutually beneficial cooperation, stability and security in the Caspian Sea, will be solved through building confidence,” Khalafov said.
Khalafov added that the confidence-building measures among the sides must ensure the safety of all Caspian countries equally.
“The Caspian countries must contribute to the strengthening of stability in the Caspian region,” he said. “These measures must be based on the principles of respect for territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of the countries. The interests of all sides must be taken into account.”
“We must continue to work together to preserve the Caspian Sea as a zone of peace, tranquility, stability and security,” he said.
The Caspian littoral states – Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan and Iran – signed a Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea in November 2003. Russia and Kazakhstan signed an agreement on the delimitation of the northern part of the Caspian Sea in order to exercise sovereign rights for subsoil use in July 1998. The two countries signed a protocol to the agreement in May 2002.
Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan signed an agreement on the delimitation of the Caspian Sea and a protocol to it on Nov. 29, 2001 and Feb. 27, 2003, respectively. Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Russia signed an agreement on the delimitation of adjacent sections of the Caspian Sea on May 14, 2003. Summits of heads of the Caspian states were held in 2002 in Ashgabat, in 2007 in Tehran, in 2010 in Baku and in 2014 in Astrakhan.