Five Caspian states will sign the document next year during a summit in Kazakhstan
After twenty years of persistent disputes, the five Caspian states are close to signing a final concord on the legal status of the Caspian Sea.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made the announcement at a press conference following the 7th meeting of the Caspian countries’ foreign ministers in Moscow.
RIA Novosti quoted Lavrov as saying: “The text of the document is in fact ready.”
The Russian Foreign Minister also noted that the plan is for the document to be signed at the 5th Caspian Summit which will be held in Kazakhstan next year.
“We’ve completed nearly 20 years of work on the ‘Concord on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea’. This text has been submitted to the heads of states for approval, and we expect that they will support it,” Lavrov said.
The Caspian Sea is the largest landlocked body of water in the world. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the number of coastal states around the Caspian increased from two (USSR and Iran) to five (Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan), new issues concerning the legal status of the Caspian Sea arose. There have been negotiations between the Caspian states about the status of the Caspian Sea for twenty years.
Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, as owners of the oil and gas-rich sectors, have insisted on dividing the Caspian along a middle line. Iran has insisted on dividing the Caspian into fifths among all of the Caspian states. Azerbaijan, Russia, and Kazakhstan agreed to their proposals in 2003, but took another 14 years to find a compromise between all of the Caspian states.