By Ruslan Rehimov
BAKU (AA) – Five littoral states — Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan — agreed on a document on the legal status of the Caspian Sea.
Foreign Ministers Sergey Lavrov, Elmar Mammadyarov, Javad Zarif, Kairat Abdrakhmanov and Rasit Meredow met on Tuesday in Moscow to discuss current issues on the Caspian agenda.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, Caspian littoral states started negotiations over the legal status of the sea. However, wide divisions between these countries created a deadlock, preventing the sharing of the sea’s rich hydrocarbon resources.
The agreement will be signed at the fifth Caspian Summit expected to be held in Kazakhstan in the first half of 2018.
According to the draft agreement, an area of 15 nautical miles from the coast will be regarded as the respective country's territory.
By adding 10 nautical miles to this distance, a total of 25 nautical miles will be set as the fishing zone of each country.
The remaining parts will be neutral zones open to common use.
The bottom of the Caspian Sea will be divided among the littoral states.
The agreement also included the principles of preservation of a military balance, the protection of biological resources and navigation safety.
It will imply equal rights for all littoral states.