6 Dec 2017 17:23

Caspian leaders may sign convention on sea's status at Kazakhstan summit - Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry

BAKU. Dec 6 (Interfax) - Negotiations on the status of the Caspian Sea have concluded successfully, Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Khalaf Khalafov said.

"We confirm that the talks on the status of the Caspian Sea, which lasted for 21 years, have concluded successfully," Khalafov said at a press conference in Baku on Wednesday.

Following necessary procedures within each country concerned, the draft convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea could be submitted for the presidents to sign at a summit in Kazakhstan in 2018, he said.

Azerbaijan, Russia, and Kazakhstan had bilateral and multilateral agreements related to the development of oil and gas fields in the Caspian Sea area, Khalafov said. "The draft convention defines a framework for these agreements. As for oil and gas deposits, it is too early to talk about them before the delimitation work is conducted," he said.

The parties are working on a draft agreement on military activity in the Caspian Sea "based on concern for the security of all countries and the prevention of incidents," Khalafov said.

Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the foreign ministers of the five Caspian countries had agreed on all key provisions of a convention on the status of the Caspian Sea, work on which started almost 20 years ago, and now the text of the document is almost ready for signing by the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan at a summit next year.

"I am greatly delighted to announce that we have found solutions to all of the outstanding key issues related to the preparation of this document. The text of the convention is virtually ready," Lavrov said at a press conference following a meeting of the foreign ministers of the five Caspian states in Moscow on Tuesday.