Littoral states agree on Caspian Sea status

By Aliia Raimbekova

ASTANA, Kazakhstan (AA) – Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan, the five Caspian littoral states, reached a deal Sunday on the legal status of the resource-rich sea.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani, Kazakhtan's Nursultan Nazarbayev, Russia's Vladimir Putin and the president of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov met in the Kazakh city of Aktau for the Fifth Caspian Summit.

The summit mainly focused on the legal status of the Caspian Sea.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the 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.

According to the agreement, an area of 15 nautical miles from the coast will be regarded as each respective country's territory.

Fishing zones are to be delimited 25 nautical miles from each country's coast.

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.