Caspian Sea status issue unlikely to be solved and here is why

Politics Materials 29 September 2014 14:36 (UTC +04:00)
Astrakhan holds the regular summit of heads of Caspian littoral states Sept.29, which attracts attention of many international players.
Caspian Sea status issue unlikely to be solved and here is why

Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept.29

By Elmira Tariverdiyeva - Trend:

Astrakhan holds the regular summit of heads of Caspian littoral states Sept.29, which attracts attention of many international players. This is not surprising, since the interests of many countries intersect in the Caspian region today not only in terms of geography, but also in terms of geopolitics and economics.

Located at the crossroads of "East - West", "North - South" intercontinental transport directions and communications, the countries of the Caspian region are included in the fundamental interests of such major international players like the United States, Europe and Russia.

Summit of the Caspian littoral states in Astrakhan means a lot both for the fate of the entire region and each country of the region separately.

Regarding the main issue for the countries of the Caspian region - Caspian sea status, it is unlikely that the countries will soon come to at least any kind of consensus in this case, as they all all have different understanding of a perfect solution. Another thing that is crystal clear is that all five states have completely different roles in the region.

While the current issues of the Caspian Sea status are being solved at the meetings of representatives of various levels, the fundamental issues are not, as they are stumbling blocks in the foreign policy of the Caspian littoral states.

It is difficult to reach a single solution of such an important issue for the region, when the positions are contrary to each other. And it is unlikely for this situation to change in the near future, so it is more likely that the political and economic cooperation between the countries will be the main topic of the summit, rather than the Caspian Sea status.

At the same time, Azerbaijan plays one of the key roles in the region due to several circumstances, and cooperation with Baku in various areas will be one of the key themes of the summit.

For many years, the western countries have regarded the Caspian Sea region, especially Azerbaijan, a source of energy. At the same time, the construction of a gas pipeline connecting Azerbaijan and the West will start in 2017. By virtue of cooperation in the energy sphere, namely Azerbaijan can be regarded as a country opening alternative routes for the supply of energy resources of the Caspian Sea region to the West.

Currently, Azerbaijan's strategic objective is to maintain balance in its relations with all the interested foreign players, by prioritizing its national interests. In this regard, Azerbaijan's interests coincide with the interests of the West which intends to gain energy independence from Russia.

Favorable geostrategic location, rich hydrocarbon reserve and secularity - all these factors are in favor of Azerbaijan in this issue. In terms of economic efficiency, the country maintains equal partnership relations with Russia without exacerbating this country's influence.

In terms of cooperation with Caspian Sea countries, it is an important factor that Russia regards Azerbaijan as a transit country for its relations with Iran. Currently, the supply of electricity to Iran through the territory of Azerbaijan is under consideration. The sanctions imposed on Russia by the West prompt Russia to significantly increase its trade turnover with Iran in 2014.

Iran will get great opportunities to enter the Russian market with various goods and at the same time, this will allow Azerbaijan to significantly increase the trade turnover with both of the countries, and get additional funds to transit goods.

Azerbaijan also shares Russia's and other Caspian Sea countries' view to prevent the emergence of the foreign forces in the Caspian Sea region. This issue may also be among the topics to be discussed in the summit.

Another important regional player in the Caspian Sea region, Kazakhstan, which is the ally of Russia and depends on this country on many economic issues, still tries to hold an independent position and become a kind of mediator between the other Caspian Sea countries.

Elmira Tariverdiyeva is Trend Agency's staff commentator