Caspian: Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea signed

The member states of the informal group “Caspian-five”, composed of Azerbaijan, IranKazakhstanRussia and Turkmenistan, have signed (12 August 2018) the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea. This international treaty replaces previous Soviet-Iranian instruments, namely the Treaty of Friendship between Persia and the Russian Socialist Federal Soviet Republic of February 26, 1921 and  the Treaty on trade and navigation of 25 March 1940. With this new treaty, the parties agree that the Caspian Sea is not a lake. Among other issues addressed by the treaty, the Caspian Sea bordering states will now be able to lay pipelines on the seabed without obtaining the approval of all the other coastal states, but rather only the approval from those coastal states whose sector the pipeline should pass through (Article 14). The treaty also features the principle of absence of armed forces not belonging to the parties in the Caspian Sea (Article 3). Six other international legal instruments were also signed by the parties, namely on the fight against terrorism, the fight against organised crime, economic cooperation, transportation, accident prevention, and  interaction of border authorities. The text of the agreement may be found here (in Farsi). A statement from the United Nations Secretary-General may be found here.


Caspian Sea region oil and natural gas infrastructure. Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration.

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