Ashgabat, June 28, 2022 (TDI): Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov arrived in Ashgabat, to attend the Caspian Littoral States Conference of Foreign Ministers.

Attending the meeting also were Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister, Khalaf Khalafov, Turkmen Foreign Minister, Rashid Meredow, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, and Kazakh Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tleuberdi.

The Caspian Littoral states include Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia as well as Turkmenistan.

Previously, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova said that Foreign Ministers of the Caspian Lit states will convene for the meeting taking place in Ashgabat.

Previous Meeting of Foreign Ministers

The Seventh Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Caspian states took place in Moscow from 4 to 5 December 2017.

They discussed issues of the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea. Along with documents regulating five-way cooperation within the Caspian in different fields. Namely, economics, transport, anti-poaching, and maritime safety, among others.

The leading task of the meeting involved the preparation for the 2018 5th Caspian Summit in Kazakhstan.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held a press conference after the end of the meeting of Foreign Ministers.

He, therefore, noted at the time that special attention was given to the work concerning the draft Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea.

Lavrov stated that solutions were found to every remaining open issue connected to the preparation of the document.

The Russian Minister highlighted that in the future an editorial revision of the text will take place. That is, including translation into national languages. As well as internal preparation of the Caspian countries for signing this convention at the highest level.

Agreement on the legal status of the Caspian Sea

In 2018, Littoral States agreed on the legal status of the Caspian Sea.

In line with the Fifth Caspian Summit, Azerbaijani President, Ilham Aliyev, Iranian leader, Hassan Rouhani, Kazakhstan’s Nursultan Nazarbayev, Russian President, Vladimir Putin, and the President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov met in Aktau.

Following the fall of the Soviet Union, the Caspian states began negotiations regarding the legal status of the sea. Nonetheless, wide divisions between the countries created a deadlock and prevented the sharing of the sea’s rich hydrocarbon resources.

According to the agreement, the parties recognize an area of 15 nautical miles from the coast as each country’s territory.

Also, the agreement stated that fishing zones are to be delimited 25 nautical miles from each country’s coast. The remaining parts were to be neutral zones open to common use.

In addition, the parties divided the bottom of the Caspian Sea among the littoral states.

The agreement further encompassed the principles of preservation of a military balance. As well as the protection of biological resources together with navigation safety. Most importantly, it implied equal rights for all littoral states.

Noteworthy, Littoral countries to the Caspian Sea made a commitment to assess the prospective impact of development projects. Specifically, on the environment in each other’s states.

The Littoral states agreed to watch the environment as the Caspian Sea is part of the world’s largest hydrocarbon reserves.

As a result, Representatives from Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation, and Turkmenistan signed the Environment Impact Assessment Protocol under the Tehran Convention in 2018.