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Kazakh FM Kairat Abdrakhmanov: Signing of Caspian Sea Convention to sum up 20-year talks

10 August 2018 09:21 601
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Kazakh FM Kairat Abdrakhmanov: Signing of Caspian Sea Convention to sum up 20-year talks

ASTANA. KAZINFORM - Ahead of the upcoming Aktau Foreign Ministers' Summit, Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan Kairat Abdrakhmanov shared his thoughts on the historic meeting which is due to determine the legal status of the Caspian Sea and close the curtain on 20 years of negotiations between the coastal states.

The forthcoming Caspian Summit in Aktau is bound to become a landmark event because it will determine the legal status of the Caspian Sea. How would you asses the efforts made by the experts who spent over 20 years drawing up the draft Convention on the Legal Status of the Sea?

President Nursultan Nazarbayev has recently given his assessment of the experts' work. It was a mammoth task which required coordinated efforts of many parties and the top-level Aktau Summit will take stock of those efforts. The draft Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea was drawn up in the five-sided format and all the provisions of the Convention were adopted based on the consensus of all five Caspian littoral states.

From our point of view, the document is quite well-balanced and takes into account the interests of all negotiating parties.

It is clear that until the document is signed and ratified it can't be made public. Could you give us an insight into the main provisions of the Convention?

The main thing here is that thanks to the political will of the heads of Caspian states, the diplomatic efforts that have been made and the progressive search for compromises and mutually acceptable solutions, the sides managed to reach a consensus on all the issues concerning their interactions on the Caspian Sea. The draft Convention on the Legal Status of the Sea which is set to be signed by the presidents bears witness to that fact.

The Convention is the fundamental legal document which will regulate the whole range of issues associated with the rights and obligations of the coastal states concerning the use of the Caspian Sea, including its waters, seabed, subsoil and aerial domain. The Convention is set to become the guarantor of security, stability and prosperity of the entire Caspian region.

At this point, we have developed consolidated approaches towards sovereignty limitations and the sovereign and exclusive rights of the littoral states.

The sea area will be divided into zones with various regulation regimes, including inland waters, territorial waters (extending up to 15 nautical miles), fishing zones (extending up to 10 nautical miles), as well as the common water area.

And seabed and subsoil delimitation will be carried out as agreed by neighboring and opposite states. It will take into account the common principles and norms of international law in order to implement their sovereign rights for subsoil use and legal economic activity related to seabed and subsoil development.

How do Caspian States plan to cooperate in terms of ensuring security within the Caspian Sea and beyond?

This is one of the pivotal points of our cooperation. It embraces many different aspects, and combating unlawful activity is the most important one.

At the upcoming Caspian Summit, the heads of state will discuss issues related to cooperation around the fight against terrorism, organized crime, illegal fishing and drug trafficking. Additionally, participants will consider issues related to military activity, incident prevention, navigation safety and interaction between the littoral states' authorities, including coast guards.

The summit will conclude with the signing of several intergovernmental documents which are part of the implementation of the Agreement on Security Cooperation in the Caspian Sea as of November 18, 2010. This agreement set the stage for the further step-by-step development of cooperation towards ensuring security and combating illegal activity in the Caspian Sea.

The non-presence of armed forces which do not belong to the five Caspian countries is one of the agreed provisions. This principle was captured in the joint statement of the presidents of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan, which was adopted following the 4th Caspian Summit held in September 2014 in Astrakhan. This arrangement is also stipulated in the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea.

Altogether, I am confident that the signing of the Convention will sum up the multi-year talks on determining the legal status of the Caspian Sea and establish a clear legal framework for further development. It will also result in the strengthening of mutually profitable international, political, economic, cultural and humanitarian cooperation between the littoral states.



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