US Military Bases at Caspian Sea 'Out of Question' - Kazakh Foreign Minister

Source Public Domain

Presidents of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation met on the margins of Caspian Sea Littoral States Summit in Kazakhstan and discussed the most important bilateral, regional, and global issues.

"Relations of Iran with Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation and Azerbaijan have always been friendly and close and this is the main factor for signing such agreements", he continued.

Earlier in the day, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif left Tehran at the head of a political and legal delegation for the Kazakh city of Aktau, where the two-day event is to start on Sunday.

His Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rohani, said that the delimitation of oil- and gas-rich Caspian seabed will require additional agreements between littoral states.

"We also indicated in this document that we have observed fairness and justice, although we have not determined the baseline in this convention, we stated that countries that have certain shores should also enjoy certain characteristics, which refers to the shores of the Islamic Republic of Iran".

Over the weekend, the presidents of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan met in Aktau, Kazakhstan to sign the much-anticipated convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea. He added the landmark accord also limits military presence in the Caspian Sea to the five littoral countries.

Iran gets the smallest share of the Caspian spoils under the new deal, but could take advantage of new legal clarity to engage in joint hydrocarbons ventures with Azerbaijan.

And while some countries have pressed ahead with large offshore projects such as the Kashagan oil field off Kazakhstan's coast, disagreement over the sea's legal status has prevented some other ideas from being implemented.

People exercise on a beach on the Caspian Sea in Baku, Azerbaijan, in 2015.

One of those is a pipeline across the Caspian which could ship natural gas from Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan and then further to Europe, allowing it to compete with Russian Federation in the Western markets. Only the seabed shall be delineated into sectors, as per sea principles.

Speaking to IRIB in an interview on Saturday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said, "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".

Between 80 and 90 percent of the world's caviar is sourced from the Caspian, but the numbers have been falling over the past few decades.

According to a 2016 report from German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, Russia's move to enact the ban received the backing of the other four countries around the Caspian Sea.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev stressed on August 12 that the recent agreement allowed the setting of national quotas for fishing.

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