Azerbaijan hails his­toric Con­ven­tion on Caspian

Azer News - - Front Page - By Rashid Shiri­nov

The sign­ing of the Con­ven­tion on the Le­gal Sta­tus of the Caspian Sea at the 5th Caspian sum­mit held in Ak­tau on Au­gust 12, 2018 is a his­toric event and an im­por­tant achieve­ment for the five coastal states, Azer­bai­jani For­eign Min­is­ter El­mar Mam­mad­yarov told me­dia on Au­gust 15.

“It demon­strated once again that the Caspian states have a firm de­ter­mi­na­tion to reaf­firm the at­mos­phere of sus­tain­able peace and co­op­er­a­tion in the Caspian basin and ad­ja­cent re­gions,” he said.

The min­is­ter noted that the con­ven­tion de­fines the le­gal frame­work for in­ter-state re­la­tions and con­duct in the Caspian Sea. The doc­u­ment is based on gen­er­ally ac­cepted prin­ci­ples of in­ter­na­tional law, in par­tic­u­lar such key prin­ci­ples as re­spect for the ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity and sovereignty of states. Along with the def­i­ni­tion of the le­gal regime and the terms used, the con­ven­tion de­scribes clear, trans­par­ent and pre­dictable norms of ac­cept­able con­duct in the con­text of the ac­tiv­i­ties of all Caspian states. These re­la­tions, based on mu­tual trust and co­op­er­a­tion between the Caspian states, are nec­es­sary for them­selves and their part­ners, Mam­mad­yarov men­tioned.

“In the process of de­vel­op­ing the con­ven­tion, the Caspian states also demon­strated such el­e­ments of a high po­lit­i­cal cul­ture as a unique re­gional iden­tity, re­spon­si­bil­ity and the abil­ity to be mas­ters of their own destiny. The Caspian states, with­out al­low­ing any out­side in­ter­fer­ence, have achieved im­por­tant achieve­ments through joint ef­forts, in­clud­ing the sign­ing of the Con­ven­tion on the Le­gal Sta­tus of the Caspian Sea,” the Azer­bai­jani FM said, adding that the process of har­mo­niza­tion of the con­ven­tion re­quired long-term ef­forts on the part of mem­ber states.

Mam­mad­yarov also noted that the fi­nal phase of the har­mo­niza­tion of the con­ven­tion has gone through dif­fi­cult discussions. The two-day meet­ing of the for­eign min­is­ters of the Caspian states, held in Moscow in De­cem­ber 2017, was very in­ten­sive, and as a re­sult, at last, the main progress was achieved in har­mo­niz­ing the con­ven­tion.

“Very se­ri­ous discussions were held on a num­ber of pro­vi­sions, but with good will and mu­tual trust, ne­go­ti­a­tions yield pos­i­tive re­sults. As a re­sult of all these discussions, the con­ven­tion was pre­sented to the pres­i­dents for sign­ing at the sum­mit of the Caspian states in Ak­tau, and we were able to im­ple­ment it,” he men­tioned.

Speak­ing of the next steps, the min­is­ter said that in ac­cor­dance with do­mes­tic pro­ce­dures, the con­ven­tion will be sub­mit­ted for rat­i­fi­ca­tion by mem­ber states. “We hope that the rat­i­fi­ca­tion of the con­ven­tion will be com­pleted soon,” he noted.

Mam­mad­yarov added that the com­ple­tion of the rat­i­fi­ca­tion process and the prac­ti­cal im­ple­men­ta­tion of the pro­vi­sions of the con­ven­tion will pro­vide even greater op­por­tu­ni­ties for the sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment of the re­gion. The con­ven­tion and the com­mu­nique adopted by the heads of state at the Ak­tau sum­mit de­fined new tasks and rel­e­vant in­struc­tions. In­ten­sive work based on good will, friend­ship and co­op­er­a­tion for the ben­e­fit of the en­tire Caspian re­gion and the peo­ples will be con­tin­ued, he noted.

The is­sue of de­ter­min­ing the le­gal sta­tus of the Caspian Sea be­came rel­e­vant af­ter the col­lapse of the USSR, when the emer­gence of new sub­jects of in­ter­na­tional law Azerbaijan, Kaza­khstan and Turk­menistan - raised the is­sue of de­lim­i­ta­tion of the sea between the five lit­toral coun­tries. The dif­fi­cul­ties in de­ter­min­ing the sta­tus of the Caspian Sea were linked, in par­tic­u­lar, with the recog­ni­tion of it as a lake or sea, the de­lin­eation of which is reg­u­lated by dif­fer­ent pro­vi­sions of in­ter­na­tional law.

The sta­tus of the sea was the key topic of discussions at the Caspian states’ sum­mits. The lead­ers of the five coun­tries met for the first time in 2002 in Ash­ga­bat. The se­cond Caspian sum­mit was held in Tehran in 2007, the third one in Baku in 2010, the fourth – in As­trakhan in 2014, and the fifth sum­mit – in Ak­tau on Au­gust 12 this year.

Ben­e­fits from the Con­ven­tion

First of all, the sign­ing of the con­ven­tion will fur­ther strengthen the role of Azerbaijan as an in­ter­na­tional tran­sit country and will in­crease its eco­nomic power. The sign­ing of the doc­u­ment has cre­ated a solid le­gal ba­sis for Azerbaijan, which has a wide mar­itime border and is ac­tively en­gaged in eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties in the Caspian Sea.

Cur­rently Azerbaijan has the most de­vel­oped in­fra­struc­ture in the Caspian Sea for ex­plo­ration, pro­duc­tion and trans­porta­tion of oil and gas. The con­ven­tion made it pos­si­ble for the country to at­tract more in­vestors to par­tic­i­pate in the de­vel­op­ment of Caspian en­ergy re­sources and their de­liv­ery to the mar­kets.

More­over, now Azerbaijan can par­tic­i­pate in projects lo­cated in the sec­tors of neigh­bor­ing states and in­vite the neigh­bors to par­tic­i­pate in its own projects.

Adop­tion of the con­ven­tion also deter­mined the nec­es­sary le­gal ba­sis for fur­ther rel­e­vant di­rect ne­go­ti­a­tions between Azerbaijan and Turk­menistan and Kaza­khstan with­out the need for par­tic­i­pa­tion of third coun­tries. In ad­di­tion, now there is a le­gal ba­sis for im­ple­ment­ing the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipe­line and other projects, from which Azerbaijan will cer­tainly ben­e­fit.

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