By Narmina Mammadova
Turkmenistan is preparing for the sixth Caspian Summit and the first Caspian Economic Forum to be held in 2019.
Proposals have been developed to establish appropriate organizing committee at the government level in this regard, the State News Agency of Turkmenistan reported.
Its main tasks are defined by preparations for the above-mentioned international events in Turkmenistan and the timely resolution of all relevant issues, including the development of the summit’s agenda, drafts of documents to be signed, as well as the concept of the first Caspian Economic Forum, etc.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said at a government meeting, that the significance of the Caspian region goes far beyond its borders, it is rapidly becoming one of the strategic centers of geopolitical and geo-economic processes, a multimodal transport and transit hub of the global level is being formed here.
This necessitates the further unification of efforts by the Caspian countries in order to implement key areas of cooperation, taking into account the short and long term, as well as strengthening the constructive dialogue with reputable international organizations and all interested partners.
On August 12, the Kazakh city of Aktau hosted a ceremony of the signing by the leaders of the five states of the basic international treaty, developed on the basis of consensus and mutual consideration of the interests of all parties, the Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea. It was the main event of the fifth Caspian summit.
The Convention was signed by President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Russia Vladimir Putin, President of Iran Hassan Rouhani and President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow.
The signing at the fifth Caspian summit of the agreement on trade and economic cooperation between the governments of the Caspian states and the agreement on cooperation in the field of transport between the governments of the Caspian states was accepted with deep satisfaction.
The signing of the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea was a truly historic and event, marking the goodwill of the five coastal states.
As a result of the summit, the Caspian Sea gained a special, unique status -- it was declared neither lake nor sea.
According to the Convention, the surface is to be treated as a sea, with states granted jurisdiction over 15 nautical miles of water from their coasts and fishing rights over an additional ten miles.
The convention also permits the construction of pipelines, which only require the approval of the countries whose seabed they pass, subject to environmental provisions, and forbids non-Caspian countries from deploying military vessels in the water.
As for the delineation of the Caspian seabed for subsoil use, according to the document, each state enjoys sovereign rights for subsoil use within its bottom sector. By now, the seabed and subsoil of the Caspian Sea in its northern and central parts have been delineated. Kazakhstan signed the corresponding agreement with Russia in 1998, as well as the protocol to it in 2002.
The delimitation of the seabed between Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan was fixed in the agreement of 2001 and its protocol in 2003. There is also the Kazakh-Azerbaijani-Russian agreement on the point of junction of the lines of delimitation of adjacent sections of the Caspian Sea bottom, signed in 2003. The agreement of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan on the delimitation of the seabed is secured by the agreement of 2014.
The legal status of the Caspian Sea has remained unsolved during more than two decades, preventing development and exploitation of its disputable oil and gas fields and creating obstacles to the realization of major projects.
The issue of determining the legal status of the Caspian Sea became relevant after the collapse of the USSR, when the emergence of new subjects of international law - Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan - raised the issue of delimitation of the sea between the five littoral countries.
For a long time, the principle of delimitation of the sea’s water area was the apple of discord among the littoral states.
The leaders of the five countries met for the first time in 2002 in Ashgabat. The second Caspian summit was held in Tehran in 2007, the third one in Baku in 2010, the fourth summit – in Astrakhan in 2014 and the fifth one - in Aktau in 2018.
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