Caspian Sea Issues
ON LEGAL STATUS OF CASPIAN SEA
The Republic of Azerbaijan refers to the implementation of traditional economic activities within the framework of respective sectors, on the basis of the established practices on utilization of Caspian Sea resources by the coastal states.
According to conceptual position of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Caspian Sea should be divided into respective sectors, where sovereign rights and jurisdictions of the coastal states shall be applicable. Division of Caspian Sea into sectors among the coastal states shall be realized taking into consideration the centerline principle, and by means of the established practice, generally acknowledged principles of the international law and the implementation of the sovereign rights of the coastal states of Caspian Sea.
All these can be reflected in the common document about legal status of Caspian Sea.
The problems arising from cooperation of coastal states in the issues of common interest can be based on the main document about legal status determining the indefeasible sovereign rights of each coastal state over the respective sector in Caspian Sea.
Until acceptance of the common convention on the legal status of Caspian Sea, the coastal states shall implement their sovereign rights on the basis of the established practice.
Taking into account the necessity of determining legal status of Caspian Sea and its importance for the coastal states, the Working Group at the level of Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs responsible for developing the Convention on legal status of Caspian Sea was established during the meeting (Ashgabat, November 11-12th, 1996) of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Caspian Sea coastal states. The Caspian Sea Working Group (CSWG) held 15 meetings so far. The last meeting was held in Moscow on the 26-27th of October in 2004. The 16th meeting of the (XIQ) is to be held in Ashgabat.
Although positions and interests of the coastal states do not match, the negotiations, consultations and exchange of views among the Caspian Sea coastal states show that the states are supportive of the division of Caspian Sea.
The issues discussed during negotiations on the Draft Convention include division of Caspian Sea bed into sectors and utilization of seabed mineral reserves on the basis of this division, as well as usage of the water surface - navigation, protection of biological reserves, security issues, protection of the environment etc.
Along with pent lateral negotiations among the Caspian Sea coastal states, the Republic of Azerbaijan keeps negotiating on bilateral basis with Iran and Turkmenistan. In these negotiations the issues concerning the division of the seabed are discussed.
At present, in accordance with the documents ratified by the Russian Federation, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, the coastal states, divided on the basis of centerline principle, reserve extraordinary rights for development and utilization of mineral reserves, as well as for carrying out any economic activities in the respective sectors under their ownership.
Caspian Sea coastal states signed the following bilateral and multilateral agreements so far:
- September 23, 2002: The Agreement on Division of the Adjacent areas of Caspian Sea bed between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Russian Federation;
- The Agreement between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Russian Federation on Division of Caspian Sea bed between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Kazakhstan Republic, on November 29, 2001, and an appropriate Protocol attached on February 27, 2003;
- The Agreement on Division of the Northern Part of Caspian Sea bed for the purpose of implementing the sovereign rights in the usage of the seabed between the Kazakhstan Republic and the Russian Federation (July 6, 2002) and the requisite Protocol (May 13, 2002)
- The Agreement on the crossing points of Caspian Sea bed co-linear areas among the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation (May 14, 2003);
- The Framework Convention on environmental protection of Caspian Sea (Tehran, November 4, 2003).