Five Caspian countries meet in Russia

Five Caspian countries meet in Russia

Five Caspian countries meet in Russia

Russia’s Putin (R) welcomes Iranian President Rouhani before the summit. REUTERS photo

The five countries bordering the Caspian Sea have met for a summit in the Russian city of Astrakhan, with efforts to close a deal on the distribution of the sea’s vast energy reserves and joint military actions on their agenda.

Each of the five countries’ presidents – Turkmenistan’s Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, Azerbaijan’s İlham Aliyev, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Iran’s Hassan Rouhani and Kazakhstan’s Nursultan Nazarbaev – attended the summit, the Russian News Agency Itar-Tass reported yesterday.

Officials from the five countries have been working for years to reach an agreement on the sea’s legal status, so that billions of dollars in natural resources can be used, the agency said.

The countries reportedly made significant progress in terms of preparing a convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea, which may be signed next year, another Russian media outlet, Ria Novosti, reported.
The key issue concerning the legal status of the Caspian was whether it is considered a lake or a sea.

The five countries also agreed to hold joint emergency exercises in 2016, Putin announced Sept. 29.

“As a first step, we suggest organizing full-fledged, five-party emergency service exercises that will help in developing the procedures of notifying and coordinating rescue units,” Putin said during the meeting.