On August 12th, 2018, the 5th Caspian Summit on the legal status of the Caspian Sea was held in the the Kazakh port city of Aktau. The Summit was conducted by the leaders of Kazakhstan (President Nursultan Nazarbayev), Azerbaijan (President Ilham Aliyev), Turkmenistan (President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow), Iran (Supreme leader Ali Khamenei), and Russia (President Vladimir Putin).
One of the notable outcomes of the Summit was the signing of the Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea by the 5 Caspian Heads of State.
“The Convention is a kind of Constitution of the Caspian Sea. It is called upon to resolve the entire complex of issues related to the rights and obligations of coastal states, and also to become a guarantor of security, stability and prosperity in the region,” the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, stated.
The Convention is the main comprehensive document regulating the rights and obligations of the parties with respect to the Caspian Sea, including its waters, the bottom, subsoil, natural resources and airspace. Additional points include the transformation of the Caspian Sea into a zone of peace, good-neighbourliness and friendship; its use for peaceful purposes; respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity; lack of presence of armed forces on the Caspian Sea that do not belong to the parties.
The Caspian Sea is the world’s largest lake. It is approximately the size of Japan, and contains 40% of the world’s lake water. It is bordered by Kazakhstan, Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, and Turkmenistan.
Previous meetings were held in 2002 in Ashgabat (Turkmenistan), in 2007 in Tehran (Iran), in 2010 in Baku (Azerbaijan) and in Astrakhan (Russia) in 2014.
In Astrakhan, the Heads of State signed a joint statement establishing a broad list of principles to guide the activities of the coastal states, which were later incorporated into the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea. The principles included the peaceful use of the Caspian Sea, security and stability in the region, military activities, the use of bio-resources, the protection of the natural environment, and the conduct of marine scientific research in the Caspian Sea.
“The signing of the Convention and a number of bilateral documents is evidence of friendly relations between the Caspian states and a joint desire to closely cooperate and show respect for the Caspian Sea,” said President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
As a result of the Summit, the following documents were signed:
Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea.
Protocol on Cooperation in the field of combating terrorism in the Caspian Sea.
Protocol on Cooperation in the field of combating organized crime in the Caspian Sea.
Agreement between the governments of the Caspian states on trade and economic cooperation.
Agreement between the governments of the Caspian states on cooperation in the field of transport.
Agreement on prevention of incidents in the Caspian Sea.
Protocol on Cooperation and interaction of border agencies.