Iran hopeful to see Caspian legal convention signed on Sun.

TEHRAN, Aug. 11 (MNA) – Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ghasemi said Sat. that he is hopeful the legal status convention for the Caspian Sea will be signed by the heads of the 5 littoral states on Sunday summit in Kazakhstan's Aktau.

“The foreign ministers of the five littoral states of the Caspian Sea convene in Kazakhstan today to review and finalize the draft for the legal convention of the Caspian Sea to be ready for signing in tomorrow’s summit by the five presidents,” said Bahram Ghasemi, the Spokesman of Iranian Foreign Ministry on Saturday, according to the IRIB, the state-owned broadcasting of Iran.

He made the remarks after confirming that President Rouhani will leave Tehran for Kazakhstan on Sunday.

He added that this is in line with the agreements reached in the past and the meeting on Saturday between the foreign ministers had been scheduled since months ago.

“We have made progress to a great extent, and maybe around 80 percent of what the [littoral] states wanted has been met and drawn up in the convention,” he said, while noting that the final document is the result of more than two decades worth of efforts by Iran and the four other littoral states.

He voiced hope that with the understanding reached between the presidents of the littoral states, the convention would be signed on Sunday at the Caspain summit.

Meanwhile, Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev said Saturday that “a historic decision” will be made at this year's summit; "During the last 20 years we have been holding talks, rather difficult ones, to agree our approaches, to solve all the issues regarding our cooperation at the Caspian Sea… I believe all issues have been agreed, we are expecting a historic decision to be made tomorrow," Sputnik quoted Nazarbayev as saying.

The presidents of the five coastal states- Iran, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Russia and Kazakhstan- will meet on Sunday in Kazakhstan's northwestern city of Aktau at the fifth Caspian summit to take stock of many years of negotiations on the legal status of the Caspian Sea. As expected, the main outcome of the summit should be a Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea.

The question of determining the legal status of the Caspian Sea have gained relevance after the collapse of the USSR, when the emergence of new subjects of international law — Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan — raised the question of the delimitation of the Caspian between the five countries. The difficulty of determining the status of the Caspian sea are related, in particular, with the recognition of its lake or sea, the delimitation of which is governed by different provisions of international law.

The Caspian, the world’s largest enclosed body of water, is rich in hydrocarbon deposits. Once it was divided between the Soviet Union and Iran. But in 1992 the USSR’s collapse created four successor states with Caspian shores — Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan — and threw the status of the sea into a generation-long morass of diplomatic wrangling.

YNG/4371712

News Code 136634

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