18:56 GMT26 January 2020
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    The next summit of the leaders of the five Caspian Sea states will be held in the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana, in 2017, the Kazakh foreign minister said on Wednesday.

    ASTANA (Sputnik) — Earlier in the day, the foreign ministers of the five states, namely Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, met in Astana to discuss the draft Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea and preparations for the 5th Caspian Summit.

    "We have confirmed today at a political level that there is a general readiness to move to the signing of the Convention in Astana at the heads of state summit next year," Erlan Idrissov told reporters.

    He added that the exact timing of the summit was yet difficult to determine as it would depend on the progress made on certain outstanding issues "that require harmonization and further negotiations."

    The question 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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    Tags:
    summit, Erlan Idrissov, Caspian Sea, Astana
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