Almost 80% of Draft Convention on Legal Status of Caspian Sea Agreed Upon - Baku

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Azerbaijani Foreign Minister said that negotiations on the legal status of the Caspian Sea are nearing completion and nearly 80 percent of the corresponding convention is agreed by the parties.

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BAKU (Sputnik) The negotiations on the legal status of the Caspian Sea are nearing completion and nearly 80 percent of the corresponding convention is agreed by the parties, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said on Tuesday.

"Current phase of negotiations on the legal status of the Caspian Sea can be regarded as the beginning of the final stage. Most articles, almost 80 percent of the convention on the status were agreed," Mammadyarov was quoted as saying by the Azerbaijani AZERTAC news agency.

Mammadyarov noted that negotiations for determining the legal status of the Caspian Sea were held in a five-party format, at the level of leaders and foreign ministers of Caspian littoral countries and deputy foreign ministers of the Ad Hoc Working Group. Since 2002, there have been held four summits of heads of states in Ashkhabad, Tehran, Baku and Astrakhan.

A number of important issues on defining the legal status of the Caspian Sea were discussed at the summits in Baku in Russia's southern city of Astrakhan, Mammadyarov added.

"These issues, including the distribution of water surface, agreement on legal regimes, security, shipping, conservation and use of biological resources, emergencies and hydrometeorology, provide and regulate the cooperation and activities of Caspian littoral states through the draft convention and many signed agreements," Mammadyarov explained.

The issue of defining the legal status of the Caspian Sea arose after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the emergence of new independent states, namely Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, necessitated the demarcation of the area among the five countries that border it.

The difficulty in determining the status of the Caspian Sea is linked to its recognition as a lake or a sea — a distinction which is governed by different provisions of international law.

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