Summit Unable to Bring Close Positions of Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Iran on Caspian Status: Experts
Azerbaijan, Baku / corr Trend A. Badalova / Experts do not see any considerable progress in the issue on the Caspian legal status definition between Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Iran on the results of the recent summit of the Caspian littoral countries.
Konstantin Batunin, an analyst of Alfa Bank, said that there was not any progress at the Tehran summit on the definition of the Caspian status.
"The Caspian littoral countries are still retaining their position. A group of countries insist on defining the medium line via the Caspian seabed and another for common use. They are still firm on their grounds," Batunin said.
A summit of five Caspian littoral countries, including Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan, began in Tehran on 16 October. Azerbaijan, Russia, and Kazakhstan do not lay any claims against each other on the issue of the division of the Caspian seabed. These three countries have signed bilateral and trilateral agreements in respect to this. The sides came to a common ground on the definition of the coordinates of the medium delineation line.
According to Batunin, the only positive result was that the member-countries at the summit agreed upon conducting regular meetings.
"It enables us to hope that an issue of the Caspian legal status will move forward from the previous dead end," analyst said.
A declaration of twenty-five articles has been signed as a result of the summit of the Caspian littoral countries held in Tehran on 16 October. The declaration is the first official document undersigned by the Caspian littoral countries regarding the Caspian legal status. Meetings on the Caspian Sea status at the level of Foreign Ministers will take place every six months and a meeting at the level of Presidents will take place once a year.
Azer Mursaliyev, a political expert and Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Russian daily Kommerzant, said that the problem of the Caspian legal status definition remains to be unsolved. As for disputable oil fields, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan are nearing a compromise.
"The possibility of a compromise appeared after the state power in Turkmenistan was replaced. However, it is impossible to achieve any compromise with Iran," Mursaliyev said.
Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan cannot reach an agreement on the distribution of the Caspian Sea into national sectors nor can they agree to whom the border field Kapaz (called Sardar by Turkmenistan). Reserves that can be mined in the Kapaz field are assessed at 50mln t of oil. The field was discovered by Azerbaijani oil workers during the USSR. During the Soviet Union the field had the name of 'Intermediate' as it is located at the midline between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. The US company Chevron and German Wintershall take particular interest in the development of the Kapaz field.
The first summit of the Caspian littoral countries was held in Ashgabat in April 2002. At the gathering a decision was adopted to conduct the second summit in Tehran in 2003. However, the event has repeatedly been postponed every year. The third summit of the Caspian littoral countries will be held in Baku next year.