Caspian Sea Convention needs Parliament approval: Rouhani

TEHRAN, Aug. 12 (MNA) – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told the media that the signed Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea will be signed into law after being approved by the Iranian Parliament.

The signed convention on the legal status for the Caspian Sea must go through the legal channels to get finalized and according to legal procedures in Iran it should be approved by the Iranian Parliament,” said Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday.

The Iranian head of government made the remarks during a press conference on the sidelines of the 5th Summit of the Caspian Sea Littoral States in Kazakh coastal city of Aktau.

Saying that the first positive step needed to meet the desired results of this agreement is good neighborliness and good relations between the five governments of the Caspian Sea littoral states.

“The relationships that currently exist between Iran, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation and Azerbaijan are very friendly relations and this was the main contributing factor for reaching this agreements.

“If the governments were not close, their relations were far off; the national interests of all of us were not considered; the people of this region did not have a long history of relations; and we could not, so easily, sign seven documents in one day, including a basic document and six MoUs for cooperation,” Rouhani underlined.

“Today, one of the most important achievements of this Convention was the security of the Caspian Sea. We announced unanimously that the Caspian Sea belongs to five countries and no more. We explicitly announced that no foreign forces can travel on the Caspian Sea, and that the security of this sea is exclusively up to the five countries. What we asserted that the land of any country in the Caspian Sea could not be exploited against another coastal state is for stabilizing the security of the Caspian Sea, which is important for all of us,” highlighted the Iranian president.

The convention provides a good basis for the five countries to continue their joint work on the latest issues for the legal problems of the sea, he added.

“I am glad that today we reached better conditions to tap the capacities, more than ever for the nations, of the Caspian Sea in shipping, tourism, transit and oil and gas resources,” he concluded his address to the media.

The presidents of the five coastal states- Iran, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Russia and Kazakhstan- met 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. The heads of states signed the convention of the legal status of the Caspian Sea in the summit and 5 agreements to expand regional cooperation.

The first meeting of the Caspian states’ leaders was held in Ashgabat in 2002, and the other summits were convened in Tehran, Baku and Astrakhan.

The Caspian Sea is the largest inland body of water in the world and accounts for 40 to 44 percent of the total lacustrine waters of the world. The coastlines of the Caspian are shared by Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan.

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.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, heading a politico-legal delegation, arrived in Kazakhstan’s Aktau on Saturday and took part at the Caspian littoral states’ ministerial meeting.

Kazakhstan’s Aktau, the venue for this year’s summit, is a city with a population of 180,000, whose residents greatly depend on the production and processing of Caspian resources.

YNG/4372653

News Code 136677

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