Caspian Convention to create favorable background for settlement of Karabakh conflict

17 August 2018 14:21 (UTC+04:00)

By Rashid Shirinov

The Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea, signed recently at the summit of the leaders of the Caspian states in Aktau, will create a more favorable background for the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Elkhan Alasgarov, PhD and a well-known Azerbaijani political analyst, head of the Expert Council of Baku Network, told Trend on August 16.

“The Caspian Convention has an important geopolitical significance. For a long time there have been various political processes in the world that could have turned the Caspian Sea into a sea of disagreement and discord,” he said. “However, all that is over, and we can say that the adoption of such a significant document has led to a single consensus among the five Caspian countries, which is extremely important.”

“We remember the Armenian terrorist attack on a civil ferry that carried passengers from Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan and other security threats in the Caspian Sea region. And only thanks to the correct diplomatic work carried out by Azerbaijan’s leadership, many projects have been implemented,” Alasgarov noted.

The expert said that the issue of security has been solved to a certain extent with the adoption of the Convention, since the responsibility for maintaining the stability of the region is borne by all the countries that signed the document.

“The fact that the Karabakh conflict is a stumbling block for the development of integration processes and it threatens the security of the entire region is obvious. Therefore, if we take into account the interests of the five countries in maintaining security in the Caspian region, most likely, the political background for the conflict’s settlement will become more favorable,” Alasgarov noted.

He said geopolitically, Azerbaijan’s positions in the Caspian Sea have increased, which means that the settlement of the Karabakh problem can be considered in a more detailed format.

The expert further mentioned that the adoption of the Convention opens wide opportunities for the implementation of large economic and energy projects of strategic importance.

“This means that there are opportunities for laying gas pipelines along the bottom of the Caspian Sea. I think it is logical to ask why Russia and Iran agreed to laying a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Europe through Azerbaijan despite the fact that it could compete with these countries? It is possible that there are certain concerns among the exporting countries because of the increase of gas tariffs in Europe, and the presence of different routes of energy supplies will allow to avoid that,” Alasgarov said.

As a result of the summit in Aktau on August 12, 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. However, the seabed and its deposits are not allocated in precise form. The delineation of the seabed, which is almost completely an oil and gas basin, is yet to be defined. 

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.

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Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov

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