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Caspian states to limit deployment of third countries' military forces in the sea (+update)

April 22 2014, 12:03

Today the FMs of “Caspian Five” will consider the draft convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea at the meeting in Moscow, azh.kz reports citing kommersant.ru newspaper. The Moscow meeting is the preparation stage for the September summit that will take place this fall in the Russian city of Astrakhan.

The meeting is attended by the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov, Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran Mohammad-Javad Zarif, Kazakh Foreign Minister Yerlan Idrissov and Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov.

Moscow managed to convince the partners that the third countries shouldn’t deploy military forces in the Caspian Sea, primarily the United States.

To recall, negotiations on the status of the Caspian Sea started after 1992. Since then, individual agreements had been signed between Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Russia on settlement of borders. However the disagreements between “Caspian Five” still remain due to divergences in such issues as division of water area, subsoil resources and shelf. Russia supports the idea of dividing the subsoil resources and coastal waters, but for the public use of the Caspian Sea. Iran  is for the division of the coastal waters and water area into equal parts. The negotiations are complicated with the production prospects of oil and gas at the shelf area, as well as access to biological resources and laying of subsea pipelines.

The main issue of the summit - whether Moscow will be able to prevent the construction of Transcaspian gas pipeline between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, bypassing Russia. “If ministers agree on the convention and the remaining three countries - Iran, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan will divide the bottom of the Caspian sea, then territorial disputes will dissapear, in particular the disputable oil field Kyapaz (Serdar) between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan,” – writes Kommersant, quoting RusEnergy partner Mikhail Krutikhin.

“Though Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan have their own underwater gas and oil pipelines and such ban has no grounds, still Moscow is trying to enter a provision into the convention about the need for coordination between five states of any construction of infrastructure and development of the bottom of the Caspian Sea” – said the expert.

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