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Five Caspian Sea states sign landmark convention

AFP  |  Aktau(Kazakhstan) 

The leaders of the five states bordering the resource-rich signed a landmark deal on its legal status today in the Kazakh city of Aktau, easing regional tensions and potentially facilitating lucrative

The leaders of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, and signed the agreement on the status of the inland sea, which has been disputed since the collapse of the rendered obsolete agreements between and

The host, Kazakh said before the signing that the leaders were "participants in a historic event."

"We can admit that consensus on the status of the sea was hard to reach and not immediate, the talks lasted more than 20 years and called for a lot of joint efforts from the parties," Nazarbayev said.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin, whose country was seen as driving the deal, said the convention had "epoch-making significance" and called for more military cooperation between the countries on the Caspian.

Today's summit was the fifth of its kind since 2002 but there have been more than 50 lower-level meetings since the Soviet breakup spawned four new countries on the shores of the Caspian.

The deal goes some way to settling a long-lasting dispute on whether the Caspian is a sea or a lake -- which means it falls under different international laws.

While the convention refers to the Caspian as a sea, provisions in the agreement give it "a special legal status", Russian told daily earlier this week.

The Kremlin has said the convention keeps most of the sea in shared use but divides up the seabed and underground resources.

Iran, who ended up with the smallest share of the sea under the terms of the convention, is viewed as a potential loser in the deal.

Iranian called the convention "a major document" today but noted that it does not bring an end to all disagreements over the sea.

"Today we have a framework for actions in the which was not the case before," Rouhani said in comments translated into English.

"But there are other issues to deal with in other meetings."


Nevertheless, Rouhani hailed a stipulation in the convention that prevents non-Caspian countries from deploying military forces on the sea.

"The only belongs to the Caspian states," he said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, August 12 2018. 17:50 IST
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