Fifth Caspian Summit in Aktau: view from Iran

Fifth Caspian Summit in Aktau: view from Iran

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 experts about the main results of the historic summit for Iran and changes the Caspian region will face.

Head of the Center for Central Asia and Caucasus Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences, Stanislav Pritchin, drew attention to the fact that the full-fledged international agreement was signed following the summit, not a declaration or communiqué.

"This is a full-fledged international agreement that regulates cooperation and security, protection of the environment, regulation of navigation in the Caspian Sea region. This document included the results of the 22-year talks between different countries," the expert said.

Pritchin added that the principles of ensuring international security achieved in the agreement, which prohibit the deployment of military facilities of non-littoral states in the Caspian, are of particular importance.

"It is one of the main points for Iran. The parties also have no right to grant their territory for any aggressive actions against their Caspian neighbors, and all disputes will be resolved through negotiations. These are the three key points in terms of ensuring security," the expert continued.

He added that the convention, however, did not remove all relevant issues from the agenda. "The communique notes that the next summit will be held in Turkmenistan on time. It means that the parties are interested in continuing the dialogue and maintaining this five-sided format," Pritchin concluded.

Senior researcher of the Analytical Center IMI of the Russian MGIMO Leonid Gusev, in turn, noted that the countries have finally come to an international agreement on the status of the Caspian Sea. According to him, in general, Iran acted like other Caspian states in this matter. He also noted that the issue of regional security was the main one for Tehran.

"The main thing is that military bases of foreign states cannot be located on the territory of the Caspian countries. There were some rumors that military bases of other countries may be located on the territory of Turkmenistan or Kazakhstan, but now this issue is out of question," he explained.

The expert also added that the settlement of disputes over the Caspian Sea's waters, shelf and bottom is also important for Iran.

At the same time, Gusev did not rule out that certain issues can again provoke disputes between countries, but at the moment the situation looks like solved. He also expressed hope that after the signing of the convention, economic cooperation between the countries will be strengthened.

"We can hope that cooperation in the fishing sector and shipping will be intensified. There may be some joint oil and gas projects, since all five countries have significant potential in this area. Russia said once that they want to cooperate with Iran on gas and oil," Gusev specified.

"The most important thing is that now the Caspian Sea is a zone of our states only, and all foreign representatives cannot have bases there, which is also very important for mutual cooperation and development in the region," the expert concluded.