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Convention on Caspian Sea's Legal Status declares against presence of non-littoral, foreign military forces

ISNA - Iranian Students' News Agency

Sun / 12 August 2018 / 15:01

Tehran (ISNA) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stressed that signing of the Convention on Caspian Sea's Legal Status is a significant step to finalize the 21-year talks in this regard.

"In the light of positive determination of the leaders of Caspian Sea littoral states and the friendly and constructive atmosphere in the meetings, we are about to sign the Convention on the Caspian Sea legal status and 6 other agreements and protocols as well as the summit's statement," Mr. Zarif said at the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Caspian Sea Littoral States.

"Signing of the Convention on Caspian Sea's Legal Status is a significant step to finalize the 21-year talks in this regard," he added.

Iranian top diplomat reminded, "Signing of the Convention is not the end of all negotiations over the Caspian Sea and it is actually a milestone in the implementation of the agreements, monitoring the implementation as well as starting the negotiations to sign new and necessary deals".

"Although legal status of seabed and water borders restrictions stays unclear in the Convention, we hope the littoral states will finalize separate agreements in this regard in near future," he said.

Mr. Zarif expressed satisfaction that the involved parties at the Convention on Caspian Sea's Legal Status have agreed upon the monopoly of the presence and sailing of any fleet solely by the flag of one of the littoral states, as well as the prohibition on the presence of foreign military forces.

The ministerial meeting of the Caspian Sea littoral states opened on Saturday at the Kazakh port of Aktau with the participation of the foreign ministers of Iran, Russia, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

The fifth summit of the Caspian Sea Littoral States' heads of governments will be held in Aktau with the presence of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday.

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Tehran (ISNA) – Iranian President described Caspian Sea Legal Regime Convention as a very important step towards enhancing more convergence among the Caspian Sea littoral states and emphasized that the Islamic Republic of Iran, with its maritime access in the north and south, is prepared to play a strategic and regional role for development of trade and transportation.

Speaking on Sunday at Caspian Sea Littoral States Summit in Kazakhstan, President Hassan Rouhani said, "Today, this region has turned into a successful model for guaranteeing peace, stability, friendship, good neighbourliness and progress and this summit is another step in more convergence in the region that needs to be strengthened by taking more steps".

President Hassan Rouhani's address is as follows:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

Your Excellency Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev,

Your Excellency Mr. Ilham Aliyev

Your Excellency Mr. Vladimir Putin,

Your Excellency Mr. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am truly happy that we are witnessing the Fifth Caspian Sea Littoral States Summit on the International Day of Caspian Sea in the beautiful coastal city of Aktau. I would also like to appreciate the warm and friendly hospitality of my dear friend and brother, Mr Nursultan Nazarbayev, honourable President of Kazakhstan.

After the collapse of former Soviet Union, cooperation between the Caspian Sea littoral states started through the signing of "Tehran Environment Convention" and it included a 25-article statement as the first political document signed between the five countries. In today's historical meeting, we will witness the signing of Caspian Sea Legal Regime Convention that will put emphasis on sovereignty, sovereign rights, eligibility and monopoly of the right to decide on the sea. Legally speaking, this is a major document that monitors all rights and responsibilities of Caspian Sea littoral states. Of course, the formulation of the technical details will be postponed to other separate agreements.

In this convention, important principles such as emphasis on the prohibition of the presence of foreign armed forces and monopoly of any kind of navigation merely with the flags of the five littoral states, the prohibition of allowing foreigners to use the territories of the littoral states for acts of aggression against another littoral state have been mentioned.

Caspian Sea belongs to all its littoral states and any kind of formation and handing over military bases to foreign countries and the passage of warships and even transit of foreign military transit shipments belonging to a country other than Caspian Sea littoral states is forbidden.

Today, although a major step has been taken, we should admit that by the signing of this convention, still important issues remain unresolved in the Caspian Sea, in addition to the fact that the final adoption of the convention is contingent upon following the legal procedures in the five littoral states. I therefore deem it necessary to mention the articles of 1921 and 1940 treaties between Iran and the former Soviet Union and emphasize that in the Legal Regime Convention of the Caspian Sea, the confines of the seabed have not been determined and this will be done in an agreement by the parties later. Furthermore, regarding the status of the coasts of the Islamic Republic of Iran, it is clear that that the aim of the third paragraph of the section regarding the definition of straight baseline asserted in Article 1 of this convention is directed at the special status of Iran's shores. Of course, this convention states that the method of drawing the straight baselines must be determined in a separate agreement by all parties to the convention.

Therefore, negotiations for the final agreement in the field of defining limits and determining the methods of drawing baselines must continue until we reach an agreement and constructive interaction among the five negotiating countries to be able to draft separate agreements in these fields in the future.

Another indication of the agreement is the anticipation of a regular mechanism to ensure the effective implementation of the convention and to review the high-level, regular cooperation and consultation between the five countries. Such an arrangement would be an appropriate opportunity for the development of cooperation in all fields, especially in economic areas, as well as the organisation of regular economic conferences. Therefore, it is imperative that Caspian Sea coastal states commit to continuous monitoring of the good implementation of the Convention of the Caspian Sea Legal Regime as well as other multilateral agreements based on the mechanisms specified in these documents.

Today, six documents for cooperation in the Caspian Sea will be signed, each of which will reinforce cooperation in this critical area. At the same time, protection of the "environment" and "living water resources" are two very important issues that the presidents of the Caspian Sea littoral states are determined to require their national institutions to take serious consideration on these two vital issues in all their actions and projects.

Honourable guests!

The God-given energy resources in the Caspian Sea belongs to its littoral countries' people. The only solution to preventing any kind of disagreement in the areas whose confines have not been determined is either the countries use these resources jointly or refrain from unilaterally exploring and exploiting these areas. I am pleased that friendly and neighbouring countries are committed to their previous agreements on this matter.

In order to achieve the common goals and interaction between the Caspian Sea littoral states and with regard to the historical background as well as the documents that will be signed today by the parties in the field of "transportation" and "business and economic cooperation", it will be appropriate for the member states to take steps to form and establish organisations for cooperation, customs unions, banking cooperation, common free zones, joint transportation companies, joint ventures, tourism, formation of a single customs window, development of multifaceted economic cooperation, facilitation of visa issuance and the move to complete abolition and other facilitating and profitable actions.

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