Ilham Aliyev: Caspian Sea should remain as zone of peace, cooperation, good neighborliness

Details added (first version posted on 16:53)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept. 29

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Azerbaijan attaches great importance to the development of cooperation with its neighbors in the Caspian Sea in the military and military-technical area, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said at an expanded meeting within the fourth Caspian Summit in Astrakhan Sept. 29.

"We believe that the presence of the armed forces of the sides and military activity in the Caspian Sea must be based on the principle of equal security conditions for all Caspian-littoral countries," he said.

"This will enhance mutual trust between the countries of the region. The Caspian Sea should remain a zone of peace, friendship, cooperation and good neighborliness," said Ilham Aliyev.

"The third Caspian summit held in Baku in 2010 gave a new impetus to the negotiations on resolving the fundamental issues of the legal status of the Caspian Sea, especially regarding the common approaches of coordinating the width of the national zone and the protection of marine biological resources," the president said. "An agreement on security cooperation in the Caspian Sea signed following the Baku summit has created an important mechanism for cooperation between border services and other state agencies in the fight against smuggling, poaching, illegal migration, human trafficking, organized crime and terrorism."

"A lot of work has been conducted during this period to strengthen the legal framework for cooperation in the Caspian Sea," President Aliyev said.

"The sides completed coordinating and proposed an agreement on cooperation in the field of prevention and liquidation of emergency situations in the Caspian Sea for signing. Strengthening of the cooperation of the Caspian countries in this area will serve to more efficient and safer activity in the Caspian Sea," said the president. "I would like to emphasize the importance of bilateral relations on the delimitation of the Caspian Sea between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Russian Federation, the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation, as well as the tripartite agreement among Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Russia."

"These agreements play an important role for comprehensive settlement of the legal status of the Caspian Sea," the president said. "Azerbaijan believes that the principles set out in these agreements can be a good basis for reaching agreements on the Caspian Sea delimitation among all littoral countries."

"We view the Caspian Sea as a sea of friendship, peace, security and cooperation," he said.

"Azerbaijan pays special attention to the development of bilateral relations with the Caspian littoral countries, based on mutual respect and trust. Close friendly relations and multilevel cooperation among the Caspian littoral countries are the key to stability, prosperity and security in our region."

The president said the deepening of trade and economic ties, improvement of investment climate for developing and delivering energy resources to international markets, the creation of safe and secure communications, and utilization of highly profitable and environmentally friendly technologies in the Caspian Sea region, are among priority activities.

"The Caspian Sea links many international and regional projects for development of transport corridors," President Aliyev said, adding that Azerbaijan attaches great importance to cooperation with its neighbors on the Caspian in oil and gas sectors.

"Iranian and Russian companies are successfully participating as investors in the development of oil and gas resources in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea," he said. "Azerbaijan also transits oil and oil products through its territory for companies from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan."

The president said there are also good prospects in energy industry and transportation area within the trilateral cooperation of Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia.

He said that Azerbaijan commissioned a ferry terminal Sept. 22, 2014 as part of the first phase of construction of the new Baku International Sea Trade Port Complex.

President Aliyev said that in the first phase the port's handling capacity will stand at 10 million metric tons and 50,000 containers per year, adding that upon completion of the third phase, which is to be implemented in two years, the capacity will increase to 25 million metric tons of cargo and one million containers.

"I would like to inform my colleagues that last year Azerbaijan put on stream a new shipyard, which meets the highest international standards and capable of producing all kinds of vessels," the president said.

"The shipyard opens up additional opportunities for our countries to address economic problems in realization of projects in the transportation and communication sectors," he said. "The modern logistics infrastructure, created by us, is a major contribution to our common cause, and it further deepens cooperation on the Caspian Sea."

Azerbaijani president pointed out the agreement on conservation and rational use of biological resources of the Caspian Sea, which was agreed upon following the execution of the protocol decision of the Baku Summit.

"Azerbaijan attaches great importance to cooperation in the area of environment and shares the littoral states' common concern over the current state of the Caspian environment," the president said.

"We highly appreciate the common desire to cooperate more effectively and make our contribution to the work conducted as part of the Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea."

"Reaffirming the commitment to the consolidated decision, taken at the Baku Summit, we support the appropriate coordination of the national zone's width on the basis of 25 nautical miles, which include water area covered by the coastal state's sovereignty."

President Aliyev said Azerbaijan believes that the general principle of using a median line as a fundamental norm for seabed delimitation is inviolable, and attaches great importance to navigation, open access and transit from the Caspian Sea to other seas.

In conclusion, Azerbaijani president thanked the Russian side for organizing the summit, which will serve to further rapprochement of the Caspian littoral states in fulfilling the future tasks.

President Aliyev also affirmed the commitment to addressing issues relating to all areas of cooperation, including the legal status of the Caspian Sea in accordance with the respect towards sovereign rights of the littoral states and mutually beneficial partnership.

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