Caspian Foreign Ministers Discuss Summit Preparations

CaspiMOSCOW – The five Caspian states consolidated a number of their positions after the April 22 Conference of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Caspian States in Moscow. They also summed up preliminary results of the preparations for the Fourth Caspian Summit to be held in September in Astrakhan, Russia.

In his remarks at the opening ceremony at Moscow’s World Trade Centre, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov noted the importance of continuing the search for mutually acceptable solutions to the complex issues related to the use of the Caspian Sea.

In turn, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Erlan Idrissov emphasised that “over the years, the Caspian Sea has been the sea of friendship and stability, bringing together the peoples inhabiting its shores. … The settlement of the status of the Caspian Sea and the establishment of the legal regime of international political, economic and cultural cooperation has been and remains a strategically important issue for Kazakhstan in the context of political stability, the development of the Caspian region, the preservation and multiplication of its natural resources and the use of its unique geographical location.”

“Only a coordinated effort will allow us to successfully integrate the resources of coastal states into the world economy, and our newly planned infrastructure projects, as well as those that are being implemented, will contribute to the development of the existing capacity of our countries and the Caspian region in general,” Idrissov added.

During the event, drafts of political documents for the upcoming summit, as well as the results of work on drafts of sectoral agreements on the conservation of bio-resources and disaster management in the Caspian Sea were discussed.

The foreign ministers of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan also submitted proposals for the agenda of the Astrakhan summit and agreed on a list of issues to be submitted to the presidents of the Caspian states. The general opinion of the parties is that the issues included on the agenda of the summit are the most fundamental and require solid political decisions that will take into account the interests of all participants in the negotiating process.

By the end of the conference, the parties had consolidated their positions on a number of issues. They assessed the meeting’s results quite positively and agreed to continue to prepare for the summit through the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea at the deputy foreign minister level.

On the sidelines of the conference, Idrissov and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran Mohammad Javad Zarif held bilateral talks on the sidelines of the conference. The two discussed the development of economic, trade and transport and logistics cooperation and the importance of the upcoming commissioning of the Turkmen-Iranian section of the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran railway this autumn. In addition, the ministers reviewed the progress of the international E3/EU+3 negotiations between France, Germany, the United Kingdom, China, Russia, the United States and Iran on Iran’s nuclear programme. The Kazakh minister expressed support for the process, as well as his country’s willingness to continue to provide all possible assistance.

Idrissov also held a meeting with Vice Premier and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov, focusing on the development of cooperation in the field of transport and logistics as well as the organisation this year of high-level contacts between the two heads of state. The ministers emphasised the importance of the work of the recently opened Turkmen consulate in Aktau and the upcoming opening of a Kazakh consulate in Turkmenbashi for deepening bilateral relations. It was also noted that the strong historical ties and commonalities of the Kazakh and Turkmen people are a powerful foundation for the continued development of cooperation.

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