Five Caspian Sea states sign landmark convention

August 12, 2018
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev shake hands at the 5th Caspian Summit in Aktau

The leaders of the five states bordering the resource-rich Caspian Sea signed a landmark deal on its legal status on Sunday in the Kazakh city of Aktau, easing regional tensions and potentially facilitating lucrative oil and gas projects.

The leaders of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan signed the agreement on the of the inland sea, which has been disputed since the collapse of the Soviet Union rendered obsolete agreements between Tehran and Moscow.

The host, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said before the signing that the leaders were "participants in a historic event."

"We can admit that consensus on the status of the sea was hard to reach and not immediate, the talks lasted more than 20 years and called for a lot of joint efforts from the parties," Nazarbayev said.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin, whose country was seen as driving the deal, said the convention had "epoch-making significance" and called for more military cooperation between the countries on the Caspian.

Sunday's summit was the fifth of its kind since 2002 but there have been more than 50 lower-level meetings since the Soviet breakup spawned four new countries on the shores of the Caspian.

The deal goes some way to settling a long-lasting dispute on whether the Caspian is a sea or a lake—which means it falls under different international laws.

While the convention refers to the Caspian as a sea, provisions in the agreement give it "a special legal status", Russian deputy foreign minister Grigory Karasin told Kommersant daily earlier this week.

The Kremlin has said the convention keeps most of the sea in shared use but divides up the seabed and underground resources.

Iran, who ended up with the smallest share of the sea under the terms of the convention, is viewed as a potential loser in the deal.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called the convention "a major document" Sunday but noted that it does not bring an end to all disagreements over the sea.

"Today we have a framework for actions in the Caspian Sea which was not the case before," Rouhani said in comments translated into English.

"But there are other issues to with in other meetings."

Nevertheless, Rouhani hailed a stipulation in the that prevents non-Caspian countries from deploying military forces on the sea.

"The Caspian Sea only belongs to the Caspian states," he said.

Explore further: Caspian Sea nations to sign landmark deal

Related Stories

Caspian Sea nations to sign landmark deal

August 12, 2018

The leaders of the five states bordering the Caspian Sea meet in Kazakhstan on Sunday to sign a landmark deal on the inland sea which boasts a wealth of oil and gas reserves and sturgeon.

Kazakhstan sounds alarm over dying Caspian seals

March 27, 2012

The Kazakhstan government and environmentalists Tuesday sounded the alarm over the declining numbers of endangered Caspian seals after 35 animals were found dead over the weekend.

Oldest Caspian Horse remains discovered in Iran

May 4, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- The Caspian Horse, also known as the "King's Horse" or the Mazandaran horse, is the oldest breed of horse still in existence. The newest discovery of remains makes it even older than originally believed. ...

Caspian Tiger Extinct But Lives On In Siberian Tiger

January 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- The extraordinary Caspian Tiger became extinct over 40-years ago. Through modern genetic analysis it has been discovered the Caspian Tiger and the Siberian or Amur Tiger still in existence are separated by ...

Recommended for you

Oceans of garbage prompt war on plastics

December 15, 2018

Faced with images of turtles smothered by plastic bags, beaches carpeted with garbage and islands of trash floating in the oceans, environmentalists say the world is waking up to the need to tackle plastic pollution at the ...

A damming trend

December 14, 2018

Hundreds of dams are being proposed for Mekong River basin in Southeast Asia. The negative social and environmental consequences—affecting everything from food security to the environment—greatly outweigh the positive ...

The long dry: global water supplies are shrinking

December 13, 2018

A global study has found a paradox: our water supplies are shrinking at the same time as climate change is generating more intense rain. And the culprit is the drying of soils, say researchers, pointing to a world where drought-like ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.