Meeting in Aktau, at the Fifth Caspian Summit on the International Day of the Caspian Sea on August 12, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan have reached a breakthrough agreement outlining their further cooperation by defining the status of the energy-rich Caspian Sea.
“The Caspian agreement seems to be rather a longer term event. I think in the sort term does not have any market implications,” Natalya Orlova, chief economist at Russia’s Alfa Bank, told New Europe by phone on August 13, adding that the countries may fully reap economic benefits in the future. “In Russia we have seen the news but the market totally disregarded it. It’s really a non-event,” she said. “The Caspian zone was never very problematic as far as I was hearing from the Russian side. Basically it’s good to have an agreement but… it’s mainly about Kazakhstan. I think generally speaking Russia has a good feeling with regards to its ability to negotiate with Kazakhstan,” Orlova added.
Kazakhstan hailed the agreement between the five littoral countries. Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan discussed the state of affairs and further measures to promote multilateral practical cooperation and signed a number of important agreements in the areas of trade, economy, transport and security, according to Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who hosted the summit in Aktau.
“We have established territorial waters with a width of 15 nautical miles, while their external borders acquire the status of state ones. To the territorial waters adjoin ten-mile fishing zones, where each state has exclusive rights for fishing. Outside the fishing zones, the common water area is preserved. Outside the sea frontiers, freedom of navigation will be applied to ships flying the flags of coastal countries. An agreement on freedom of transit to other seas and the oceans is of great importance. Each state implements sovereign rights to subsoil use within the boundaries of its bottom sector,” Nazarbayev said, adding that, at the same time, it is possible to lay main pipelines and cables along the seabed with the condition of observing ecological requirements. This may pave the way for the Trans Caspian pipeline, analysts say.
TASS quoted Russian President Vladimir Putin as saying success, has become possible to a great extent due to a high level of trust and mutual understanding between the leaders of the Caspian states, their readiness to always act within the logic of respect, partnership and equality.
“It is important that the convention clearly regulates issues of navigation and fisheries, commits to paper the principles of military political cooperation between the member nations, guarantees the use of the Caspian Sea purely in peaceful purposes and non-presence of armed forces of off-region states,” the news agency quoted Putin as saying. “A balanced international agreement has been elaborated on the basis of consensus and mutual reckoning with each other’s interests. The agreement will supersede the Soviet-Iranian agreements of 1921 and 1940,” Putin added.
Wasting no time, Putin also announced that a deep-water port will be built near Kaspiysk, Caspian Sea, to take part in new major infrastructural projects in Russia and abroad, according to a tweet by Russia’s Ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko.