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Introductory speech by the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, and his reply to questions from the mass media during the press conference summarising the results of the Conference of foreign ministers of the Caspian states, Moscow, 22 April 2014

24-04-2014, 01:05

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Foreign ministers of the Caspian states have held a conference in preparation of the Fourth Caspian Summit, which will be held this year in the Russian Federation.

We reviewed the course of work on the Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea and stated significant progress, which was reached also in the process of today’s negotiations. I would like to sincerely thank my colleagues and all the experts for their contribution to this significant progress.

We reviewed draft documents many of which have been developed and which are planned to be approved at the Fourth Caspian Summit. We devoted special attention to the implementation of the assignments accepted at the Baku summit in 2010. First of all, these are issues related to the delimitation of water spaces. Our positions became significantly closer on this topic. The second assignment from leaders of our countries is related to the measures to preserve the population of endangered fish. Today we discussed the progress of work on the respective intergovernmental agreement.

All the ministers confirmed their commitment to the key principles of interaction in the Caspian Sea: equality, consideration of each other’s interests and the implementation of sovereign rights of the Caspian states, primarily in what concerns their exclusive prerogative: ensuring security in this water body and determining the rules for all the five countries.

Today we have agreed to supplement the Agreement on Security Cooperation in the Caspian Sea, signed in 2010 in Baku, with specific protocols to activate sectorial interaction to fight terrorism, drug trafficking, poaching and other challenges and threats.

We devoted special attention to the development of trade, the economy, energy and transport cooperation in the Caspian Sea. We exchanged opinions on the tasks required to preserve the unique natural environment of this region. There is an agreement to implement the steps for the introduction of a framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea more effectively. We expect specific results of the conference between parties to this Convention, which will be held in May in Turkmenistan.

We have stated positive dynamics of our dialogue in the area of hydrometeorology, prevention and responding to emergencies, ensuring navigation and hydro-graphic security in the Caspian Sea.

I note a very constructive disposition of participants present at conference today, which allowed us to achieve significant results within the framework of preparing for another summit.

Question: What are chances that the Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea will be signed at the autumn summit in Astrakhan? How can its signature affect the development of oil and gas deposits in the Caspian Sea, including the projects, which are already being implemented? Is there a specific date for this summit?

Sergey Lavrov: This summit will be held this autumn, we will announce the specific date in due course. Several documents are being prepared for the forum, including those devoted to the coordination of key principles, which should be reflected in the Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea. I have no plans to complete preparation of the Convention within the period until the summit in Astrakhan. We agreed several principles, which will become the basis for respective articles of this Convention.

Today we discussed and partially resolved issues regarding delimitation of water spaces taking into consideration the agreements, which were reached earlier outside the framework of the multilateral (five-party) negotiations, in respect of the delimitation of the seabed. We are resolving problems which need to be settled to coordinate all the issues related to hydrocarbon development. The issues related to the sectors shared by several adjacent countries, which are not agreed yet, between neighbours, require further negotiation. That is all what I can say at the current stage.

Question: How can you comment on the intentions of some countries, which are not the Caspian states, to be present here, including militarily, without consideration for the interests of countries of the region?

Sergey Lavrov: During the discussion today and following work on documents we clearly confirmed that the state of affairs in the Caspian regions is the responsibility of the five Caspian states. This concerns everything happening here: security issues and establishment of norms by which our countries are guided. We are open for cooperation with out-of-region countries, if they are willing, on the basis of the rules and principles, which will be agreed by the five Caspian states.

On behalf of my colleagues I would like to thank the participants in the press conference and express a hope that you will cover the results of our work objectively, as you always do.


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