When Will Caspian States Ratify the Convention?
Kazakhstan plans to ratify the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea soon, according to a recent statement made by the Kazakh Foreign Ministry’s Ambassador-at-Large Zulfiya Amanzholova.
The Foreign Ministry will begin the appropriate procedures to ratify the agreement immediately. The Kazakh government will review the Convention first, then submit it to parliament for ratification.
Other Caspian states are also preparing for ratification procedures. Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov expressed hope for the ratification of the Convention to be executed swiftly in an interview on August 15. He noted that ratification of the Convention and practical implementation of the provisions will “open up even broader opportunities for the sustainable development of the region.”
In Iran, since the start of discussions of the Caspian Sea, ratification was followed up by the Supreme National Security Council, and the negotiating teams continued on this basis and obtained the necessary permissions. The signed Convention must still be approved by Iran’s parliament, the Islamic Consultative Assembly, along with the four other states’ parliaments.
Iran initially appeared unsatisfied with the signed Convention because it did not address the division of the resource-rich seabed or the establishment of baselines. The Iranian Foreign Ministry recently provided clarification on questions surrounding the Convention, including the determination of baselines and shares of the Caspian Sea. According to the Foreign Ministry’s responses, “the Convention grants jurisdiction over 15 miles of territorial waters to each country, but the baseline and form of the 15 miles depend on the five-party agreement that will be drafted in the future.” If there is no agreement on baselines in the future, Iran says the previously agreed upon provisions will be suspended, and Iran will continue to protect its declared 20 percent share until a decision is made.
In a briefing given by Russia’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, the Summit’s communique provides for creating a means by which there can be multilateral, high-level regular meetings among the foreign ministers to ensure the implementation of the agreement. The meeting must be held no later than sixth months from the day of the signing of the convention. Currently, there are plans to hold the VI Summit of the Heads of the Caspian States in Turkmenistan within the sixth-month time frame outlined in the communique.