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08.08.2016 16:14

Caspian leaders urge early adoption of Caspian Sea status

Early adoption of the Caspian status is expected to be one of top issues to be discussed ata trilateralmeeting of leaders of Azerbaijan, Russia and Iran inBaku on August 8.

Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan recognize the importance of the early adoption of convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea, reported RIA Novosti citing a draft declaration to be adopted in Baku.

The Caspian Sea, thelargest inland body of water in the world,is significant for geographical position. The countries surrounding it, the resources within the sea and its strategic location in the middle of the Eurasian continent are the main factors that give the sea its true geopolitical importance.

The Caspian Sea plays an important role in the transport corridors, along with being an important part of the international and regional projects.

During the Soviet Union, the Caspian Sea was practically an inland body of water within the boundaries of the USSR, and only on the south it washed the coast of Iran.

Determining the legal status of the Caspian Sea has become one of the problematic issues among the five littoral states such as Azerbaijan, Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistansince demise of the Soviet Union.

The legal status have been 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 energy projects.

Considering the Caspian Sea as the sea of peace, friendship, security and cooperation, the parties recognize the importance of the early adoption of the convention on its legal status, according to the declaration, which must be approved by the leaders of the three countries following the summit in Baku.

Over the past three years, the connection between Iran and Azerbaijan are developing rapidly. The two countries have taken important steps for the development of bilateral cooperation, said Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday, August 7 in the framework of the joint speech with the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.

Exchanging views regarding the Caspian Sea, Rouhani said that Caspian Sea should be the space of peace and stability for the coastal states.

"At the meeting we decided to accelerate the work to address some issues related to the Caspian Sea," he said.

It is also important to carry out serious work for the implementation of joint activities in the Caspian Sea, particularly in the oil and gas sectors. We will try to reach agreements on the protection of Caspian Sea ecosystem since the pollution of Caspian Sea is very dangerous. Earlier, some countries have signed agreements in this area. It is important to create a relevant center regarding this issue in Azerbaijan as well, Rouhani added.

Negotiations related to the demarcation of the Caspian Sea have been going on for nearly a decade now among the littoral states bordering the Caspian-Azerbaijan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Iran. The status of the Caspian Sea is the key problem. The major issues cover the access to the mineral resources (oil and gas), access for fishing, access to international waters.

Azerbaijan proposes that the Caspian Sea must be divided into national sectors based on the median line principles since it is a international boundary lake.

In turn, Iran and Turkmenistan oppose Azerbaijans position considering that the Caspian sea must be divided into equal parts between the pre-Caspian countries, so that each country must have 20% of the sea.

The leaders of Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia are scheduled to meet in Baku on August 8.

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