Caspian region increases its importance, strengthens legal framework of cooperation
By Ayya Lmahamad
On June 29, in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, with the participation of Presidents Ilham Aliyev, Vladimir Putin, Ebrahim Raisi, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, and Serdar Berdimuhamedov, the 6th Summit of the heads of the Caspian states was held. The summit discussed such important issues as prospects of regional projects, stability, and security of the region, as well as strengthening the legal framework of cooperation.
Nowadays, the importance of the Caspian region is only increasing. The countries of this region consider the Caspian direction as one of their dominant foreign policy interests. Contacts have intensified over the past period in all directions, both bilaterally and multilaterally. Cooperation between the region's countries has intensified, as well as Central Asia and South Caucasus countries become more actively involved in the Caspian region.
Director of the Baku Network expert platform Gulnara Mammadzada told Vesti Kavkaza that numerous cooperation forms that are shaping today create a common system of connections, including those based on the transport strategy and trade and economic cooperation.
“All of this revolves around the Caspian region, which, as the foreign ministers said, does not have a conflict component. Indeed, we do not see any conflicts in the Caspian region, and the tensions that existed between some countries over disputed deposits and so on are being resolved. Moreover, today these countries are involved in new projects, including the Trans-Caspian project. In general, this system of connections seriously increases the importance of the Caspian region,” she said.
Noting that the Caspian summit is taking place in a new geopolitical environment, Mammadzada stressed the need for parties to go for more serious decisions.
“If before 2018 there was a cumulative stage when the countries in time came to sign the Caspian Convention, now also there is no time to lose. This is the time to make specific decisions directly related to integration. It seems to me that the Caspian model can now set a new tone for integration, not only at the regional level but also at the level of inter-regional cooperation,” she said.
She mentioned that the issue of institutionalization of the Caspian process is very important, adding that the creation of a Caspian economic cooperation organization has long been on the agenda.
“Under new realities, it is becoming more and more important. It has been repeatedly stressed, including at the level of foreign ministers of the Caspian nations that the current process is the confirmation of positions of countries in accordance with the principles reflected in the Caspian Convention, which meets the strategic interests of each of our countries. The strategic interests are to be found mainly in the sphere of security, including military and political security, and those connected with the development of economic cooperation and further integration of the Caspian region. The parties confirmed their adherence to these principles in accordance with their strategic interests,” she said.
Moreover, President Ilham Aliyev speaking at the summit also stated that the Caspian Sea is an important component of many international and regional projects aimed at improving the well-being of the peoples of this region.
He also underlined that the bilateral and multilateral agreements concluded among Caspian littoral states in the field of transport create a good basis for turning the Caspian Sea region into a major international transport hub with developed infrastructure.
To recall, in 2018, the Caspian Sea’s legal status was finally confirmed. At the Aktau conference in August 2018, the Caspian Sea littoral states ratified an agreement on Caspian Sea status. Because of its abundant natural resources, coastal states had difficulty striking an agreement. Despite signing the treaty in 2018, it is not yet in force due to Iran’s lengthy ratification procedure.
The geographical location of the Caspian Sea creates favorable conditions for the establishment and development of beneficial and constructive relations between the littoral states.
Ayya Lmahamad is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AyyaLmahamad
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