Rouhani: "Signing of legal regime convention another step towards regional convergence"
President Rouhani described Caspian Sea Legal Regime Convention as a very important step towards more convergence among the Caspian Sea littoral states and emphasised that the Islamic Republic of Iran, with its maritime access in the north and south, is prepared to play a strategic and regional role for development of trade and transportation.
According to Iran Press report, quoting the official website of the Iranian president, speaking on Sunday at the Caspian Sea Littoral States Summit in Kazakhstan, President Hassan Rouhani said: “Today, this region has turned into a successful model for guaranteeing peace, stability, friendship, good neighbourliness and progress and this summit is another step towards more convergence in the region that needs to be strengthened by taking further steps”.
President Hassan Rouhani’s address is as follows:
In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful
Your Excellency Mr Nursultan Nazarbayev,
Your Excellency Mr Ilham Aliyev
Your Excellency Mr Vladimir Putin,
Your Excellency Mr Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am truly happy that we are witnessing the Fifth Caspian Sea Littoral States Summit on the International Day of Caspian Sea in the beautiful coastal city of Aktau. I would also like to appreciate the warm and friendly hospitality of my dear friend and brother, Mr Nursultan Nazarbayev, honourable President of Kazakhstan.
After the collapse of former Soviet Union, cooperation between the Caspian Sea littoral states started through the signing of “Tehran Environment Convention” and it included a 25-article statement as the first political document signed between the five countries. In today’s historical meeting, we will witness the signing of Caspian Sea Legal Regime Convention that will put emphasis on sovereignty, sovereign rights, eligibility and monopoly of the right to decide on the sea. Legally speaking, this is a major document that monitors all rights and responsibilities of Caspian Sea littoral states. Of course, the formulation of the technical details will be postponed to other separate agreements.
In this convention, important principles such as emphasis on the prohibition of the presence of foreign armed forces and monopoly of any kind of navigation merely with the flags of the five littoral states, the prohibition of allowing foreigners to use the territories of the littoral states for acts of aggression against another littoral state have been mentioned.
Caspian Sea belongs to all its littoral states and any kind of formation and handing over military bases to foreign countries and the passage of warships and even transit of foreign military transit shipments belonging to a country other than Caspian Sea littoral states is forbidden.
Today, although a major step has been taken, we should admit that by the signing of this convention, still important issues remain unresolved in the Caspian Sea, in addition to the fact that the final adoption of the convention is contingent upon following the legal procedures in the five littoral states. I therefore deem it necessary to mention the articles of 1921 and 1940 treaties between Iran and the former Soviet Union and emphasise that in the Legal Regime Convention of the Caspian Sea, the confines of the seabed have not been determined and this will be done in an agreement by the parties later. Furthermore, regarding the status of the coasts of the Islamic Republic of Iran, it is clear that that the aim of the third paragraph of the section regarding the definition of straight baseline asserted in Article 1 of this convention is directed at the special status of Iran’s shores. Of course, this convention states that the method of drawing the straight baselines must be determined in a separate agreement by all parties to the convention.
Therefore, negotiations for the final agreement in the field of defining limits and determining the methods of drawing baselines must continue until we reach an agreement and constructive interaction among the five negotiating countries to be able to draft separate agreements in these fields in the future.
Another indication of the agreement is the anticipation of a regular mechanism to ensure the effective implementation of the convention and to review the high-level, regular cooperation and consultation between the five countries. Such an arrangement would be an appropriate opportunity for the development of cooperation in all fields, especially in economic areas, as well as the organisation of regular economic conferences. Therefore, it is imperative that Caspian Sea coastal states commit to continuous monitoring of the good implementation of the Convention of the Caspian Sea Legal Regime as well as other multilateral agreements based on the mechanisms specified in these documents.
Today, six documents for cooperation in the Caspian Sea will be signed, each of which will reinforce cooperation in this critical area. At the same time, protection of the "environment" and "living water resources" are two very important issues that the presidents of the Caspian Sea littoral states are determined to require their national institutions to take serious consideration on these two vital issues in all their actions and projects.
The God-given energy resources in the Caspian Sea belongs to its littoral countries’ people. The only solution to preventing any kind of disagreement in the areas whose confines have not been determined is either the countries use these resources jointly or refrain from unilaterally exploring and exploiting these areas. I am pleased that friendly and neighbouring countries are committed to their previous agreements on this matter.
In order to achieve the common goals and interaction between the Caspian Sea littoral states and with regard to the historical background as well as the documents that will be signed today by the parties in the field of "transportation" and "business and economic cooperation", it will be appropriate for the member states to take steps to form and establish organisations for cooperation, customs unions, banking cooperation, common free zones, joint transportation companies, joint ventures, tourism, formation of a single customs window, development of multifaceted economic cooperation, facilitation of visa issuance and the move to complete abolition and other facilitating and profitable actions.
Earlier, speaking at Mehrabad airport on Sunday morning before leaving for Kazakhstan Summit, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Caspian Sea is of special importance and unique water area, and it is important for all its' littoral states to sort out how to take advantage of it.
“This convention completely bans the presence of foreign warships in this sea and this is very important for national security of its littoral states”, Iranian President added.
“Caspian Sea littoral states have very good potentials and opportunities, especially regarding economy, transportation, goods transport and tourism, which will be discussed in the summit,” Rouhani added.
President Rouhani also said: “Iran and many Asian countries will be connected to Central Asia, Caucasus, Russia and Europe through the two major corridors in the east and west of Caspian Sea”.
The convention was signed by Presidents of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, Republic of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan on Sunday in Aktau, Kazakhstan, during the fifth Caspian Sea littoral states summit.
According to an Iran Press report, quoting the official website of the Iranian president, at the signing ceremony of the convention that was held after the summit, President Hassan Rouhani of the Islamic Republic of Iran, President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation, President Nursultan Nazarbayev of the Republic of Kazakhstan, President Ilham Aliyev of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov of the Republic of Turkmenistan were present.
High-ranking officials of the five Caspian Sea littoral states also signed 6 cooperation documents in the presence of the heads of state of the five countries.
Protocol of cooperation in the fight against terrorism in the Caspian Sea, protocol on cooperation in the fight against organised crime in the Caspian Sea, agreement between the governments of the Caspian Sea littoral states on economic cooperation, agreement between the governments of Caspian Sea littoral states in the field of transportation, agreement in preventing accidents in the Caspian Sea, and protocol on cooperation and interaction of the border authorities of the Caspian Sea countries were the documents that were signed by the five countries in order to further strengthen their cooperation in the Caspian Sea region.
Heads of the five Caspian Sea littoral states released sturgeon babies in Caspian Sea as a sign of friendship and solidarity.
The first meeting of the Caspian states’ leaders was held in Ashgabat in 2002, and the other summits were convened in Tehran, Baku and Astrakhan.
The Caspian Sea is the largest inland body of water in the world and accounts for 40 to 44 percent of the total lacustrine waters of the world. The coastlines of the Caspian are shared by Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan.