On August 12, 2018 Aktau city will host the Fifth Summit of the Caspian states. The President of Azerbaijan - Ilham Aliyev, Iran - Hasan Rukhani, Russia - Vladimir Putin and Turkmenistan - Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow will arrive for the Summit at the invitation of President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev. During the summit, they will discuss the issues of the legal status of the Caspian Sea, cooperation in the Caspian Sea in the sphere of economy, transport, ecology and security. Read more information about the important international event in the material of the "Strategy2050.kz" Information Agency.
The Caspian Sea is the world’s largest lake. It is approximately the size of Japan, and contains 40% of the world’s lake water. It is bordered by Kazakhstan, Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, and Turkmenistan. Over 130 rivers flow into the Caspian Sea, including the Volga and Ural rivers. Approximately 850 animal and more than 500 plant species live in the Caspian Sea, including many species that are unique to the region.
The fifth annual Caspian Summit will take place on 12th August in the Kazakh port city of Aktau. Previous meetings took place in 2002 in Ashgabat (Turkmenistan), in 2007 in Tehran (Iran), in 2010 in Baku (Azerbaijan) and in Astrakhan (Russia) in 2014. This year's Summit will be preceded by a special working group meeting, and a meeting of the parties’ Foreign Ministers, on 10th-11th August.
What decisions were taken at the previous summits?
The first Caspian summit in Ashgabat in 2002 laid the foundation for holding top-level meetings.
Following the results of the Second Caspian Summit in 2007 in Tehran, the Declaration of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation and Turkmenistan was signed, which at the political level consolidated the existing agreements of the states on the main issues of the legal status of the Caspian Sea, security and stability at sea, and issues related to the position of the Caspian states on certain aspects of international relations.
Within the framework of the Third Caspian Summit in 2010, the Joint Statement of the Presidents and the Agreement on Cooperation in the Sphere of Security in the Caspian Sea were signed in Baku.
In the Joint Statement, the leaders of the "Caspian Five" reaffirmed their commitment to the positions reflected in the Declaration of the Second Summit and noted the necessity to finalize the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea.
The Agreement on Cooperation in the Sphere of Security, being a framework document, laid the legal basis for the interaction of the coastal states in ensuring security and combating unlawful activities in the Caspian Sea, consolidating the main areas and forms of cooperation. Specific mechanisms of such interaction will be fixed in the relevant protocols to this Agreement.
In addition, in the capital of Azerbaijan, the Heads of the coastal states reached an agreement in principle on the width of the national zone, including the water space under the sovereignty of the coastal state. For a long time, this issue was the stumbling block in the Caspian talks.
Within the framework of the Baku summit, an agreement was reached on the development of a mechanism for the introduction of a moratorium on the catch of sturgeon species in the Caspian Sea (an appropriate protocol decision was adopted at the level of the Heads of State).
During the Fourth Caspian Summit in Astrakhan in 2014, the Presidents signed a joint Statement, which establishes a broad list of principles under which the activities of the coastal states will be carried out. These principles were incorporated into the draft Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea.
In particular, the Statement establishes principles on the basis of relations between the coastal states, the peaceful use of the Caspian Sea, security and stability in the Caspian region, military construction and military activities at sea, the delineation of the water area, the seabed and the depths of the Caspian Sea, the navigation regime, the right to free access to the World Ocean, the use of bioresources, the protection of the natural environment of the Caspian Sea and the conduct of marine scientific research. Within the framework of the Caspian negotiations, the discussion on most of the issues listed was conducted for many years.
Also at the Fourth Summit, the Communiqué was adopted, in which the Heads of State noted the existing progress in the Caspian negotiation process and reflected the main directions for further cooperation.
In addition, the Fourth Summit signed the Agreement on Conservation and Rational Use of Aquatic Biological Resources of the Caspian Sea, the Agreement on Cooperation in the Sphere of Preventing and Eliminating Emergencies in the Caspian Sea and the Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Hydrometeorology of the Caspian Sea.
In accordance with the mentioned Statement of the Heads of the Caspian states following the results of the Astrakhan summit, the next Fifth Caspian Summit should be held in Kazakhstan.
What documents will be signed at the Fifth Caspian Summit in Aktau?
At the end of the summit, it is planned to sign the main final document - the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea, the project of which was finally agreed upon within the framework of the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Caspian states on December 4-5, 2017 in Moscow.
During the summit, a number of international documents are planned to be signed between the Governments of the Caspian states, such as three agreements on cooperation in the field of transport, trade and economic cooperation, in the field of avoiding incidents in the Caspian Sea, as well as three protocols to the agreement on cooperation in the field of security in the Caspian Sea dated November 18, 2010, which deal with the fight against organized crime, terrorism and the interaction of border agencies of the Caspian states. After the meeting, it is planned to distribute the Communiqué of the Fifth Caspian Summit.
What issues will be included in the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea?
On August 3, 2018 the Head of State held a meeting on the preparations for the signing of the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea.
"Over the years, we have been preparing for the Caspian Summit. Our experts have done a great job with their foreign colleagues", Nursultan Nazarbayev said.
Reporting on the preparations for the important international meeting, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Kairat Abdrakhmanov brought into focus that within the framework of the Fifth Caspian Summit it is planned to complete the process of multi-year negotiations on the legal regime of the Caspian Sea. The Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea will become the key document of the summit, the adoption of which will allow resolving the entire complex of issues related to the rights and obligations of the coastal states in the use of the Caspian Sea.
It should be noted that work on the Convention has been conducted for more than 20 years.
The draft document establishes the basic principles for the activities of the parties in the Caspian Sea, the delineation of the marine area, national bottoms, the military cooperation and economic and economic activities related to the development of biological resources, the seabed and subsoil, navigation, environmental protection, marine scientific research and other.
The settlement of the legal status of the Caspian Sea is strategically important in the context of ensuring the political stability and economic development of the Caspian region, preserving and multiplying its natural resources and using a unique geographical location, and the full cooperation of the five littoral states.
The summit will be preceded by a meeting of the Special Working Group and a meeting of foreign ministers of the Caspian littoral states, which will be held on 10-11 August in Aktau.
Negotiations on the determination of the legal status of the Caspian Sea
Negotiations to determine the legal status of the Caspian Sea began in 1994 with the aim of regulating the issues of cooperation at sea in the five Caspian littoral states.
In the period from 1992 to 1996, five meetings of the Deputy Foreign Ministers of the Caspian states, three expert meetings, as well as a series of two and tripartite meetings were held, during which the parties discussed certain issues related to the Caspian Sea.
Following the results of the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the coastal countries, held in November 1996 in Ashgabat, a Special Working Group was established to draft the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea at the level of Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Caspian states. Meetings of this institute are held regularly in turn in the territory of each Caspian state. To date, 51 meetings have been held (the last meeting took place on May 21-24, 2018 in Astana). By agreement of the parties, the final 52nd meeting is scheduled for August 10 this year in the city of Aktau.
In addition, the issues of the legal status were discussed at meetings of Foreign Ministers of the Caspian states. The next meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the "Caspian Five" is scheduled in Aktau on August 11 this year on the eve of the Fifth Caspian Summit.