Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept.24
By Elmira Tariverdiyeva - Trend:
Despite the fact that the Convention on the status of the Caspian Sea has not yet been signed, The "Caspian Five" implements fruitful cooperation in various sectors, Russian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Vladimir Dorokhin said in an interview with Trend on the eve of the Caspian summit in Astrakhan.
"Of course, it would be better to have completely clear rules of the game. And while we don't have them, odds are still manifesting. Incidents also happen. However, due to the high level of trust, a sensitive response to the concerns of each other, understanding of the fact that the coastal countries bear the full responsibility for the Caspian Sea, the Caspian Sea remains a sea of peace, and not the sea of strife. Negotiations on the most difficult issues are to be constructive. It is the most important thing," Dorokhin said.
He added that new steps in cooperation will be made also in Astrakhan.
"In particular it is necessary to sign the agreements in cooperation on prevention of emergency situations, on the conservation and rational use of biological resources of the sea, and on Hydrometeorology. Business forum with the participation of representatives of the business community and Gathering of Youth of the Caspian states will take place. "Sectoral" interaction achieves not only practical results for the necessary countries, but also helps to gain experience, which promotes achieving an agreement on common and fundamental issues. So, everything is interconnected," Dorokhin said.
The ambassador said that the status of the Caspian Sea was determined by the agreements between the USSR and Iran during the Soviet period. After appearing of independent states of the former Soviet republics on the shores of the Caspian Sea, many of these agreements have stopped working. The "Caspian Five", which emerged on the site of "Caspian Two" started negotiations on how to act on the sea in the new environment.
"These negotiations have continued for 18 years. Tangible results are achieved. One of the main is the tripartite agreement between Russia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan on the bottom section of the Caspian Sea regions. Practical exploitation of energy reserves of the Caspian Sea became possible due to it. Agreements on the protection of the ecological environment of the sea, on cooperation in security were signed. The relevant multilateral mechanisms operate," Dorokhin said.
At the same time the final agreement was not successful to be reached on the main issue, i.e. on the text of the Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea, the ambassador said. "A policy statement, which will contain agreements already reached during negotiations, is expected to be signed by the heads of states in Astrakhan. This should become a central element of the summit. It isn't the last word on the status of the sea, but an important step on the way to it. We hope that this step will give acceleration to the negotiation process," said Dorokhin. "The Caspian region is adjacent to the southern borders of Russia. Naturally, we want to have peace, stability, predictability here so that it wouldn't pose a threat to our security.
Second is the understanding of the huge potential of the Caspian Sea in both the fishery and energy (by the way, Russia is just starting to develop them in its sector of the North Caspian Sea). It also has transport capabilities and tourism. Russia, like other Caspian countries, would like to use all these to its advantage, for the sake of the welfare of its people.
The third factor is that Russia has good bilateral relations with all the littoral states, and cooperation on a five-way basis can only help to further strengthen them," he said.
There are two reasons hindering harmonization of the Caspian Sea status, according to the Ambassador.
"The first one is the different interests of the five states. This is not surprising. Each country has the right to determine what is important for it and what is not. It is always more complicated to equalize the balance of interests of the five participants in the negotiations as opposed to the interests of two or three participants. The second reason is the uniqueness of the Caspian Sea. The universal norms of international maritime law are inapplicable to it. It is necessary to find the specific formulations," Dorokhin said.
Regarding the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline, the ambassador noted that this topic will be written into each memo of the President, who will come to Astrakhan for sure.
"It is difficult to talk about the results of the discussion. I would like to clarify the Russian position. Claims that Russia wants to get the rights to veto so that it could stop the flow of energy carriers in directions unfavorable for us is not true. We care only about the environment," Dorokhin said.
"The modern world has the tools which can provide environmental impact assessment of various projects acceptable for all and ensure their proper security, as shown by the experience of construction of Russian "Northern" and "Southern" stream. It is necessary to focus on the vital interests of the people directly related to the sea and not to hold politicized discussions on this issue which originate in places far away from the Caspian Sea," he said.