Fineprint crucial to unlocking Caspian Sea's vast resources

13 Agosto, 2018, 08:42 | Author: Kelly Blake
  • Signing of Convention on Legal Status of Caspian Sea a 'Landmark Event'

According to the Russian president, the necessary regulatory base for the settlement of the legal status of the Caspian Sea will be provided by six agreements in the spheres of economy, transport and security, which were also signed on Sunday.

Vladimir Putin attended the Caspian Sea summit in Kazakhstan which he said has "milestone" significance.

"The Caspian Sea only belongs to the Caspian states", he said.

Addressing a meeting of the Caspian Sea states' foreign ministers on Saturday night, Zarif said the convention on the sea's legal status would be a very important step, which would put an end to 21 years of negotiations.

The Caspian Sea Legal Regime Convention also puts emphasis on sovereignty and sovereign rights of littoral states while recognizing their right to decide on the sea.

Iran has argued it should be called a lake, a description that has wide implications.

If it was termed a sea, it would be covered by the worldwide maritime law, namely the United Nations Law of the Sea.

Under this binding legislation, any country can access the natural resources in the ocean.

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But now, the leaders of the five countries bordering the world's biggest enclosed body of water have finally made significant headway after agreeing - at least, in principle - on how to divvy up its potentially vast oil and gas resources.

But if it is defined as a lake, then it would have to be split equally between all five "littoral" countries - the ones that make up its shores.

The signed agreement gives the body of water a "special legal status", which means it is neither a sea or lake, Russian officials said.

One of the reasons the Caspian has been so hotly contested is its abundance of oil and gas reserves.

The US Energy Information Administration estimated in 2012 there were 48 billion barrels of oil and 8.3 trillion cubic metres of natural gas beneath its seabed.

Some countries have tried to develop the disputed fields while at times using warships to scare off contractors hired by other sides. It holds various species of the fish sturgeon that the delicacy is sourced from.

The host, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said before the signing that the leaders were "participants in a historic event".

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