Foreign Ministers of Caspian countries agree upon Draft Convention on legal status of Caspian Sea

The foreign ministers of the Caspian littoral states have agreed upon the Draft Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Kairat Abdrakhmanov told Kazakh media following the respective meeting of foreign ministers.

"The head of our state, Nursultan Nazarbayev, maintains a high profile on the cooperation of the Caspian littoral states. One of the major priorities he set is to reach accords on the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea. It was the issue the heads of foreign ministries were addressing today. The meeting of foreign ministers of the Caspian littoral states discussed a wide range of issues related to the Caspian Sea. And, to a significant extent, we have completed the assignments entrusted to us by the heads of the Caspian region states," Mr. Abdrakhmanov said.

"We regard the Caspian Sea as a region with a fair opportunity to establish a zone of peace, security and sustainable socio-economic, environmental, cultural and humanitarian development. And, today, as a result of the talks held today in Moscow, we agreed on the Draft Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea," he underlined.

The Minister said that work on the legal status of the Caspian Sea has been carried out for two decades. "The agreement reached in Moscow between the foreign ministers can be counted as a breakthrough. We will report to the heads of our states on the accords we have reached on the Draft Convention. This document will provide the basis for the multilateral cooperation we intend to strengthen and expand in the near future. The accords reached in Moscow open the way to the Summit of the Caspian states, which will be organized in Kazakhstan," he added.

As Kairat Abdrakhmanov noted, the issues that sparked lively discussions and interest of the sides included the freedom of navigation, the laying of pipelines under the Caspian Sea, the access to the world's oceans from the Caspian Sea, as well as a number of other pressing issues related to the environmental safety.

He also pointed out that the Caspian states are now actively working on agreements and protocols to international conventions that refer, for instance, to combating organized crime, smuggling, illicit traffic in narcotic drugs, and the fight against terrorism. These and other problems with a wider range of issues, according to the Kazakh Foreign Minister, will be reflected in the results of the summit that is planned to be organized in Kazakhstan.

"Such a key issue as the methodology for establishing the baselines is outside the Convention so far. We agreed with our Caspian region colleagues to make up a new agreement on that issue, and our experts will immediately begin setting out the methodology for the baselines," Kairat Abdrakhmanov noted.

"In general, the results of the meeting of foreign ministers of the Caspian states give grounds and opportunities for the Caspian region to be a zone of peace, security, stability, and sustainable socio-economic, ecological, and cultural and humanitarian development in the near future," the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan summed up.