Ashgabat Backs Idea Of Creating Caspian Economic Forum

Ashgabat Backs Idea Of Creating Caspian Economic Forum

Turkmenistan has initiated establishment of a permanent Caspian Economic Forum to be an effective meeting place for representatives of government and business circles of the Caspian region, the Turkmen Dovlet Khabarlary reported.

Turkmenistan, which is one of the five Caspian littoral states enjoying huge hydrocarbon reserves, is sure that the establishment of such a forum will help to create fruitful relations with the world of business and international organizations.

This issue was discussed at a meeting of authorized representatives of the Caspian states that was held recently. Officials and specialists of the relevant ministries and departments of Azerbaijan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Iran attended the event and discussed the draft agreement on trade and economic cooperation prepared by Turkmenistan.

The initiative to establish a permanent Caspian Economic Forum was first announced by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov in September 2014 in Astrakhan (Russia).

The Caspian Sea is surrounded by the five coastal countries of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan. The Sea has a total surface area of 371,000 km², holding 78,200 cubic km of water.

The legal status of the Caspian Sea has remained unsolved during the past two decades, preventing development and exploitation of its disputable oil and gas fields and creating obstacles to the realization of major projects.

Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan hold to the principle of dividing into national sectors based on the “median line” principles since it is an international boundary lake, and leaving the sea surface for general use, i.e. they are for demarcation of mineral resources and the Caspian Sea shelf, but against dividing up its waters.

Iran seeks an equal division of the Caspian into 5 even sectors, mainly because most of offshore energy resources are located away from the Iranian coastline. Turkmenistan also demands division of the Sea into equal parts between the pre-Caspian countries so that each country must have 20 percent of the sea.