FM Zarif calls for visa waiver among 5 Caspian Sea states

MNA– Addressing the seventh ministerial meeting of five Caspian Sea littoral states, Iranian FM Zarif said that the littoral states can boost cooperation in all areas.

“It is a valuable opportunity to outline the prospects for the future of the Caspian Sea in the beautiful city of Moscow in the company of our colleagues,” said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, on Tuesday.

He made remarks at the seventh ministerial meeting of five Caspian Sea littoral states (Iran, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Russia, and Kazakhstan) after extending gratitude for the hosting and hospitality of the Russian government.

Hailing the perseverance of the littoral states in following up the case of Caspian Sea maritime regime, Mr. Zarif described the meeting as a sign of commitment of the 5 littoral states to dialogue and interaction.

“Talks which started at the level of director-generals and then followed by deputy foreign minister level of talks before the meeting of the foreign ministers and finally the summit of the heads of the littoral states has resulted so far of 4 editions of the Summit of Presidents of the Caspian littoral states, 7 rounds of foreign ministers meetings, and 49 rounds of task commissions,” recounted the Iranian

The chief of Iran’s diplomatic apparatus continued, “The most significant achievements of the talks are the signing of the Tehran Convention and several environmental extension protocols. The signing of the security cooperation agreement, the Blue Water Reserves Agreement, the Climate Agreements and the Emergency Response Agreement in the Caspian Sea.”

Meantime, Mr. Zarif said that more than 12 agreements and protocols are being negotiated and finalized.

Recounting the other merits of the Caspian Sea littoral states initiative, Mr. Zarif pointed to what has contributed to consolidating the foundations of peace and stability in the sea, increasing the confidence and reducing the scope of disputes between coastal countries, expanding maritime and port interactions, transport and transit, energy cooperation, security, Border cooperation, increased joint ventures and expansion of relations between chambers of commerce, maritime rescue and relief exercises, cross-country visits of the navies of the coastal states under the heading of the ‘flotillas of peace and friendship’, cooperation in the youth field, sports events and media and cultural programs.

The Iranian foreign minister said, “Today, with such achievements in background, I am proud to announce that all coastal states will resolve the Caspian Sea problem by themselves and agree on preventing their territory from being subjected to military action against each other, banning the presence of foreign troops, monopoly of shipping exclusively under the flags of the 5 littoral countries, the determination of the maritime area, and a big part of the convention of the Caspian Sea regime drafted.”

“The continuation of garnering such achievements will be possible in the light of respect for the stances of all parties and the adoption of defensible national approaches, as a fundamental pillar and a logical position,” highlighted the Iranian top diplomat.

“With such an approach, the principled position of the Islamic Republic of Iran in determining the boundaries and bases of the Caspian Sea is based on the principles of mutual respect, fairness, as well as attention to the shape of the coast of the countries as a special and influential factor,” he added.

Also at the event, Iranian top diplomat called for expansion of ties in areas of leveling the tariffs and customs procedures, establishing a joint investment fund, creation of a common window, and movement towards the full wavering of visa between the 5 littoral states.

“We believe that the differences in the delimitation of maritime areas can be resolved through greater interaction and mutual resilience of all parties,” asserted the Iranian minister.

Mr. Zarif outlined that the Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to cooperate and give access to its territory for the use of the Caspian Sea countries in the fields of transportation of goods, transit, oil and gas transportation, as well as access to international high seas, in a reciprocal way, in compliance with the regulations, and with respect to the legal interests of the Caspian Sea states.