Lavrov hails Aktau Convention as groundwork for settling issues

TEHRAN, Aug. 15 (MNA) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday that Convention on Caspian Sea’s legal status laid the groundwork for settling all outstanding issues.

The convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea that has been recently signed by the president of the five littoral states, namely Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Azerbaijan, has laid a universal groundwork for cooperation in the region, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday, according to Russian news outlet, TASS.

“Of paramount importance is the fact that it committed to paper the Caspian Sea’s legal status,” he said. “It laid the basis for ultimate agreement of yet unsettled issues, including delimitation of water and subsoil resources.”

“Another important thing about this convention is that now we have an absolutely universal groundwork for consideration of any issues of cooperation in the Caspian Sea region,” Lavrov went on to say. “Until recently, we have had agreements in the spheres of bio resources, security and in other areas, and suffice it to say that seven international documents were signed in Aktau. Notably, nine documents were signed over the entire period of Caspian summits after 2002. But the Aktau summit is not about the quantity, it is about quality, as the signing of the convention is a landmark event.”

The minister noted that the work on the document could not be described as smooth and easy. “Initially, the sides used to have opposite points of view on what the Caspian Sea is: a lake or a sea. If it is a sea, all the rules regulating conduct in the world ocean, the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea, are to be used. If it is a lake, there is nothing to negotiate about,” he recalled.

In the long run, in his words, the pragmatic approach won the upper hand and the top diplomats from the Caspian littoral states gathered in Moscow in December 2017 to finally agree the text of the convention. "Much has been done since December to ensure the adequacy of the text in the languages of all the Caspian nations, plus the English edition, which is considered a point of reference should any problems around interpretation arise,” Lavrov noted.

The fifth Caspian summit in Kazakhstan’s Aktau on August 12 yielded a convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea that was signed by the presidents of Russia, Kazakhstan, Iran, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. The presidents also signed three intergovernmental agreements and three protocols to the existing agreements.


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