Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed optimism that the Caspian Sea Convention could be ready to be signed in 2017, while speaking in Astana, on Wednesday. The announcement came after a string of talks involving the Foreign Ministers from the Caspian Five, which includes Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkmenistan.
Kazakh Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov said that penning a deal would still requires issues to be ironed out. He pointed out, “It will depend on the work that’s done on the remaining issues, which requires coordination and additional negotiations."
However, Lavrov maintained that a signing could take place in 2017, “We believe it is absolutely realistic to plan for signing the convention in 2017; perhaps it would be even possible to do it in the first half of the year. Our experts will be working intensively towards it in the upcoming few months."
The Caspian Five meetings addressed the importance of new legal areas of cooperation related to governing the Caspian Sea. The current administrative basis relies on two Soviet-era deals, the 1921 RSFSR-Persian treaty and the 1940 Soviet-Iranian treaty, which reportedly overlook military activities or the environmental protection in the region.
The question of the Caspian Sea's legal status became pressing with the emergence of independent Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan following the fall of the Soviet Union. The countries raised the issue of demarcation, however some difficulties remain.
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