The Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea, expected to be adopted at the Caspian summit in Kazakhstan on August 12, will grant special status to the Caspian Sea, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said in an interview with the Kommersant daily, TASS reports.
According to him, the Caspian will be declared neither a sea nor a lake. "The Caspian Sea will have special legal status because of a number of geographic, hydrological and other features," Karasin explained. "It is a continental body of water not directly connected to oceans so it cannot be considered to be a sea," he added.
At the same time, the senior Russian diplomat said that given its size, water chemistry and seabed features, the Caspian Sea cannot be viewed as a lake. "This is the reason why the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea is not applicable to the Caspian Sea, as well as the principles concerning cross-border lakes, as only its seabed is divided into sectors, while sovereignty regarding its waters is established based on other principles," he noted.
Right to resources
According to Karasin, issues concerning the division of resources are resolved at bilateral and trilateral levels. "In my view, agreements that Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, as well as Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, have made can serve as an example for conducting delimitation in the southern part of the Caspian Sea.
However, in Karasin’s words, the Convention points out that such delimitation should be carried out only for the use of resources and obliges the parties to resolve issues through negotiations based on international law." "The littoral states will have the full jurisdiction over resources in their sectors of the seabed," the Russian diplomat said.
The Fifth Caspian summit, which will involve the leaders of Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkmenistan is scheduled to take place in Kazakhstan’s city of Aktau on August 12. The five Caspian states are expected to adopt the Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea, which was agreed on by the five states’ foreign ministers at their Moscow meeting on December 4-5, 2017.
The legal status of the Caspian Sea remains the key issue discussed at the regional countries’ summits.
The five countries’ leaders held their first meeting in Turkmenistan’s capital of Ashgabat in 2002. The second Caspian summit was held in the Iranian capital of Tehran in 2007, while Azerbaijan’s capital of Baku hosted the third summit in 2010, and Russia’s Astrakhan hosted the fourth summit in 2014.