Fifth Caspian Summit in Aktau: view from Azerbaijan

Fifth Caspian Summit in Aktau: view from Azerbaijan

The 5th Caspian Summit was held in Aktau yesterday, during which the heads of the Caspian states signed the Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea, a document that had been prepared for 22 years.

Vestnik Kavkaza asked the Azerbaijani experts about the main results of the historic summit and changes the Caspian region will face.

The Deputy Director General of the Trend information agency, political commentator Arzu Nagiyev, stressed that the Convention, signed in Aktau yesterday, is indeed the Constitution of the Caspian, as the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev said.

"At the summit, decisions were made on two main issues. The first one was the non-presence of military bases and military vessels of non-littoral states on the territory of the Caspian Sea without consent of five states. The second issue was territorial, because in the Soviet times, 10 miles of fishing water were divided between Iran and the Soviet Union, and now they are assigned to five states. In addition, there are neutral areas," the expert said.

Perhaps somebody in the West does not like the agreement, Arzu Nagiyev suggested, but the agreement between the five countries opens up very broad economic opportunities for Azerbaijan. In addition, it will determine the new standard in the Azerbaijani sector, in particular, in the issues of environmental protection and use of natural resources. According to him, the Convention plays a progressive role for Azerbaijan, since all future economic projects related to the sea will directly concern Azerbaijan.

"Now we can say that the issue is solved to some extent, because the heads of all states have expressed their opinion, including the Azerbaijani president, who said that it opens up great opportunities for the implementation of the new economic project. The Turkmen leader spoke on Turkmen gas, the Iranian leader - about biological resources and the non-presence of non-littoral states. The Russian leader said that military intervention and such moments are excluded due to the fact that all issues will be resolved between the five states. I think that Kazakhstan holds a similar opinion," the expert said.

"Now there are five countries to decide the fate of the sea. They have a certain document that can be referred to," the expert concluded.

Head of the expert council of Baku Network, Elkhan Alasgarov, also described the Aktau summit as a historic event.

First, according to the expert, a lot of moments were settled, including the status of the Caspian: it is neither a lake nor a sea, but has a special status. "Second, economicopportunities, because Azerbaijan is rich in hydrocarbons. The third point is the prospects of a gas and oil pipeline in the Caspian Sea zone that will be carried out taking into account environmental problems. The fourth is the biological resources of the Caspian Sea. The signing of the Convention will be followed by the strengthened coordination in the matter of preserving the biological resources of the Caspian Sea," Elkhan Aleskerov explained.

He suggested that a joint economic activity program will be developed in this zone in the future, recalling that Azerbaijan has built a transport and communication policy, according to which Baku connects North-South and West-East routes, and the Caspian is the bridge from which these cargoes are transported.

"That is, there are a lot of points, for example, tourism issues, introduction of cruise flights. I think the summit will give impetus to more reasonable joint use of those opportunities provided by the Caspian Sea," the head of the expert council of Baku Network noted.

The expert noted that the most urgent issue will be economic cooperation in the Caspian zone. "The signing of the joint document is an impetus to the creation of a joint economic bloc. Second, joint ventures, joint activities in the sphere of conservation of biological resources," he stressed.

Elkhan Alasgarov drew attention to the fact that signing a joint declaration is an element of trust. "Each country had some mistrust in its relations with other countries. And I think that having found a foothold in the Caspian, these countries will trust each other, because the Caspian unites us. It must not separate us and this summit was an obvious evidence of it," the expert concluded.