Good progress made on Caspian Sea legal status, deal expected Sunday: Iran

Press TV – Iran says the five Caspian Sea littoral states will adopt a convention on its legal status on Sunday, a deal which has been under discussion for more than two decades.  

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi told IRIB in an interview on Saturday that the convention would be signed by the presidents of Iran, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Russia and Turkmenistan during the Fifth Caspian Summit in the Kazakh city of Aktau.

“We have to a large extent made good progress and maybe more than 80 percent of the points demanded by the [littoral] states have been considered and included in this convention,” Qassemi said.

He noted that the foreign ministers of the Caspian Sea littoral states have gathered in Kazakhstan to review and finalize the draft of the convention.

The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water by area and is variously classified as the world’s largest lake or a full-fledged sea.

The Caspian Sea littoral states have been discussing a convention on the sea’s legal status that would be a comprehensive document outlining the duties and rights of the five littoral states as well as the framework of cooperation among these countries.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in October 2016 that the Caspian Sea’s legal status should be drawn up based on mutual trust, consensus, and understanding and must take into account the common interests of all involved countries.

“Peace and stability, sustainable development and fair demarcation of maritime zones are among the fundamental elements that should guide any attempt to formulate the legal status of the Caspian Sea,” the Iranian minister said in an address to the 47th session of the special working group to draft the convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea in Tehran.

Also in a ministerial meeting of the Caspian Sea littoral states in the Kazakh capital Astana in July 2016, the Iranian foreign minister said the Caspian Sea’s legal status should guarantee that the interests of the littoral states are met in view of geopolitical developments.