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Caspian Summit begins in Astrakhan

September 29, 2014, 15:13 UTC+3 ASTRAKHAN
Russian President Vladimir Putin held an official ceremony to welcome his counterparts
1 pages in this article
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Vladimir Putin greets Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov
Vladimir Putin greets Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov
Vladimir Putin greets Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov
© ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Metzel
Vladimir Putin greets President of Iran Hassan Rouhani
Vladimir Putin greets President of Iran Hassan Rouhani
Vladimir Putin greets President of Iran Hassan Rouhani
© ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Metzel
Vladimir Putin greets his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev
Vladimir Putin greets his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev
Vladimir Putin greets his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev
© ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Metzel
Vladimir Putin greets President of Azerbaijan Ilkham Aliyev
Vladimir Putin greets President of Azerbaijan Ilkham Aliyev
Vladimir Putin greets President of Azerbaijan Ilkham Aliyev
© ITAR-TASS/Alexei Nikolsky
Vladimir Putin and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the summit
Vladimir Putin and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the summit
Vladimir Putin and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the summit
© ITAR-TASS/Alexei Nikolsky
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Vladimir Putin greets Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov
© ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Metzel
Vladimir Putin greets President of Iran Hassan Rouhani
© ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Metzel
Vladimir Putin greets his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev
© ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Metzel
Vladimir Putin greets President of Azerbaijan Ilkham Aliyev
© ITAR-TASS/Alexei Nikolsky
Vladimir Putin and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the summit
© ITAR-TASS/Alexei Nikolsky

ASTRAKHAN, September 29. /ITAR-TASS/. The Heads of State of all the five Caspian countries have gathered for the 4th Caspian Summit which has begun in Astrakhan.

Prior to the commencement of the meeting, Russian leader Vladimir Putin as Head of State of the hosting country held an official ceremony to welcome his counterparts. Then, after a photo session, they proceeded to the conference hall where a meeting in a narrow format began.

At a narrow-format meeting Russia's President Vladimir Putin said the leaders of the Caspian Five intend to reach mutually acceptable agreements that will promote a further step-up of economic cooperation and enhance security in the region.

The Russian leader pointed out that as a result of Monday's meeting it is planned to adopt a political statement which must become "the cornerstone of a future basic document a Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea"

"I am convinced that a further step-up of cooperation among our five states will contribute to strengthening regional stability and raising effectiveness in the fight against terrorism, extremism, the trafficking in narcotics, and other challenges and threats, as well as give an additional impetus to the economic development of our states, and raise their competitiveness on the world markets," Putin said.

Vladimir Putin proposed that the five Caspian littoral countries - Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan could conduct joint exercises on emergency prevention in the Caspian region in 2016.

“We propose to hold full-scale five-party exercises of emergency response services in 2016 that will allow us to practise the warning procedure and coordination between rescue units,” Putin said.

On Monday the five countries will sign an agreement on warning and liquidating emergencies in the Caspian Sea, Putin said. “It is necessary to continue the work on improving the legal base and further efforts aimed at elaborating common norms and standards of the activity on the Caspian Sea,” he said.

“It is necessary to complete the ratification of protocols on oil spill response, on the protection of the Caspian Sea from pollution and on preserving biological diversity as soon as possible. They were adopted to concretise the Tehran Convention for the Protection of Marine Environment in 2003,” Putin said.

Among the priorities he named the expansion of cooperation in the weather forecast, the climate and the environment of the Caspian Sea. “We hope that the signing of a five-party agreement on cooperation in hydrometeorology will increase security and predictability of navigation and development of hydrocarbon shelf deposits,” he added.

“Wellbeing in the Caspian Sea is our common responsibility. We should do everything possible to strengthen stability and security in the region and speed up the economic development of all Caspian states,” Putin said.

Caspian Summit agenda

Talks are then to be held in a broader format, after which joint documents are due to be signed and statements for the press will be made. An informal part of the program has also been plannned out. In particular, the leaders of the Caspian countries will take a stroll along the Volga River embankment where a symbolic release of sturgeon fry into the river will be effected.
Apart from attending the summit proceeding, Putin will hold separate meetings with the Presidents of Iran, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan. Putin will resume conversations with Kazakhstan's President on Tuesday during a forum of border regions in Kazakhstani Atyrau.

The Caspian Sea status issue

The Russian leadership hopes that the Caspian summit will help make headway in a long process of negotiations on the status and delimitation of water areas of the Caspian Sea. A joint political statement to be made by the presidents of the five Caspian states will be a cornerstone of the future Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea.

The Caspian sea is a unique water area in terms of its bio and ecological resource, which includes more than 500 kinds of sea plants and 854 kinds of fish species, including the Caspian sturgeon which accounts for 90% of the world stock of sturgeon fish.

A predicted amount of Caspian hydrocarbon resources has been estimated at around 18 billion tons, with the proved reserves put at four billion tons, which brings the Caspian Sea to second position after the Persian Gulf in the rating of the world biggest oil and gas reserves.

The first Caspian summit was held in Ashgabat in 2002; the second one five years later in Tehran, and a third one in Baku in November 2010. After Astrakhan, the baton of Caspian summits will pass on to Kazakhstan.

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