Politics • 20 June, 2019

​Aktau Convention on Caspian Sea discussed in London

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It is reported by the press service of Kazakh Embassy in the UK.

The agreements under the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea, as well as further steps on its implementation were the topic of a specialised briefing hosted by the British-Kazakh Society for British politicians, experts and business executives. The event discussed prospects for cooperation in trade, economic, transport-transit, cultural and tourist areas in the Caspian region.

Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the UK Erlan Idrissov and Ambassador of Iran to the UK Hamid Baeidinejad were the main speakers of the event.

The Kazakh diplomat briefed the audience in detail about the history of the Caspian issue and the negotiation process that involved five Caspian littoral states – Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Russia and Turkmenistan. The culmination of the five-party talks was the signing during the Aktau Summit on 12 August 2018 of the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea – an international treaty put together on the basis of consensus and mutual consideration of the interests of all parties.

Ambassador Idrissov highlighted the basic rights and obligations of the parties to the Convention, particularly on the matters of water area, seabed, subsoil, natural resources and air space over the Caspian Sea. The Ambassador highlighted the consensus on the delimitation of the water area into zones with different regimes, the agreement on freedom of transit to other seas and the world ocean, sovereign rights to subsoil use within the borders of the national seabed sectors, as well as the possibility of laying pipelines under the sea.

The Kazakh diplomat emphasised the fact that the Caspian littoral states agreed to fully strengthen the status of the Caspian Sea as the zone of peace and cooperation. The principles of ensuring maritime security, coordinated military activities, taking joint actions against international terrorism, organised crime, illicit drug trafficking and poaching are clearly set out in the Convention.

The Iranian Ambassador noted the interests of the Caspian littoral states in ensuring political stability and development of the Caspian region and elaborated on the aspects of the Convention's legal status that stimulate the development of the tourism and transport segments of the Caspian region's economy. The speaker also briefed the audience on the internal procedures underway in Iran aimed at ratifying the Convention. To date, three of the five parties to the Convention have already completed national ratification procedures: Kazakhstan (8 February 2019), Azerbaijan (22 February 2019) and Turkmenistan (14 December 2018).

During the question and answer session, participants recognised the geopolitical and geo-economic importance of the Caspian Sea and emphasised that the five Caspian littoral states' consistent aspiration to search for common ground and mutually acceptable solutions in the spirit of good neighbourliness and partnership could serve as an example for international relations theorists and practitioners. The guests also highlighted the importance of preserving the unique ecological system of the Caspian Sea.

Speaking about investment cooperation and stimulation of trade and economic relations, the participants also discussed measures taken by the Caspian littoral states to expand the transport and transit potential of the Caspian Sea. The guests touched upon Kazakhstan's active engagement in developing transcontinental transportation between Europe and Asia, the expansion of the Aktau port, the launch of the new Kuryk port, and the Caspian region's role in the implementation of the global Belt and Road Initiative.

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