Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement at a news conference following the Meeting of the Caspian Littoral States' Foreign Ministers, Moscow, December 5, 2017
Ladies and gentlemen,
We have completed the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the five Caspian states. My colleagues asked me to update you on the results.
We have held a substantive discussion of the issues on the current Caspian agenda, paying particular attention to the work on the draft Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea.
I announce with great satisfaction that we have found solutions to all the remaining major issues related to the preparation of this document. The text of the Convention is actually ready. In the near future, it will be edited and finalised, and translated into the national languages of the signatories, and each of the countries will perform the domestic procedure preparing it for signing at the top level. The Convention will be signed at the Fifth Caspian Summit, which will be held in Kazakhstan in the first half of next year. The final decision on the summit timeframe will be made by the leadership of Kazakhstan once it makes sure that all the technical and legal aspects of work on the Convention’s text have been cleared.
The participants have stated their high opinion of the progress made on other aspects of the contractual framework for cooperation between the littoral states in the most important areas. They confirmed the successful implementation of the 2014 Astrakhan summit decisions. In particular, all the agreements signed have come into force: on the bioresources, hydrometeorology and prevention of emergencies in the Caspian region. The intergovernmental commissions established on the basis of these three agreements have held their opening meetings recently. The five-sided moratorium on sturgeon fishing has been extended. Last year and in the autumn of this year, the rescue services of all the five states successfully operated in the water area of the Caspian Sea.
We have agreed to continue to vigorously promote the implementation of new promising joint projects, especially in the transport sector with its various aspects – from infrastructure development and commercial navigation to improving navigation safety – and the deepening of economic cooperation between the Caspian Five. At the initiative of Turkmenistan, we are intensively preparing intergovernmental agreements on economic and transport cooperation. We have agreed to document cooperation between our law enforcement agencies in their efforts to fight poaching, terrorism and organised crime as separate protocols.
We have positively evaluated the interaction between our defence ministries in the Caspian Sea. This year, almost all coastal states exchanged friendly visits by their Navy ships. In summer, the Sea Cup 2017 international contest was held with great success. Joint exercises are planned for next year.
The draft Agreement on the Prevention of Incidents in the Caspian Sea is at a very advanced stage of coordination; it lays the groundwork for a strong system of confidence-building measures in the region.
We expect to propose all these documents I have mentioned, which are now being discussed at the expert level, for approval at the Kazakhstan summit along with the draft Caspian Sea status convention.
We have specifically touched upon the implementation of the framework Tehran Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea, noting the five countries’ readiness to adopt the Protocol on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (EIA) to the Tehran Convention as soon as possible. The Russian Federation expects this Protocol to be signed before the signing of the Convention or simultaneously with its approval by the heads of state.
Overall, I am greatly satisfied with the meeting results. We have completed almost two decades of work on the Convention and submitted it for approval to our heads of state. We expect them to support it.
We will continue to work on the development of Caspian cooperation.