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Caspian Countries to Discuss Legal Status of Caspian Sea at summit

The participants of the summit of the Caspian countries will discuss the issues of strengthening the security of states that are close to the hotbeds of instability in the Middle East, Russian media quoted the member of Russia’s State Duma Committee on International Affairs Sergey Zheleznyak as saying on July 17.

Previously, the Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan Kairat Abdrakhmanov said that the summit of the heads of the Caspian countries will be held on August 12 in Aktau. He noted that Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Russia and Turkmenistan confirmed their participation through diplomatic channels.

“In addition to economic issues and the development of regional cooperation in such areas as energy, transport, trade and many others, the summit will certainly focus on the problems of strengthening the security of the Caspian countries, which are in a difficult geopolitical region, close to the pockets of instability in the Middle East,” Zheleznyak said at Azernews.

The politician added that Russia’s partnership with all the countries participating in the summit is developing dynamically, but the country stands for comprehensive integration, including in the field of investment.

Zheleznyak reminded that the development of the North-South transport corridor is among the common tasks of the countries, which requires synchronization of customs procedures.

“I am sure that the participants will devote a significant part of the summit to cooperation in the humanitarian sphere, in the field of education and culture, as well as to expansion of ties between the regions of our countries,” he said.

The politician added that it remains an important task for all participants of the summit to determine a full legal status of the Caspian Sea.

“This will not only increase the investment attractiveness of the region, but will also contribute to strengthening international security,” he concluded.

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 are 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 remains a 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, and the fourth summit – in Astrakhan in 2014.