By Fikret Dolukhanov
Kazakhstan will be able to state about the completion of the legal formalities for the boundaries, sovereign rights for subsoil use in the Caspian Sea after the location of the junction of the lines of delimitation of the sea-bed segments is determined in the trilateral format with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, the official website of the Kazakh prime minister cited Ambassador at Large of the Kazakh Foreign Ministry Zulfiya Amanzholova as saying.
“The Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea regulates the whole range of issues related to the rights and obligations of the coastal countries with respect to the use of the Caspian Sea, including its waters, the bottom, subsoil, natural resources and air space above it,” she said.
“The issues of delimitation of the water area have been clarified,” Amanzholova said. “The boundaries of the territorial waters with a width of 15 nautical miles have been determined. Their external borders acquire the status of state ones. Ten-mile fishing zones are adjacent to the territorial waters, where each country has exclusive rights to fishery.”
“Fishery will be carried out on the basis of the agreed national quotas,” she added. “There is a common water area outside the fishing zones. Outside the sea borders, there will be freedom of navigation for ships with flags of coastal countries.”
The ambassador also stressed that Kazakhstan has determined the state border along the entire territory because if before the signing of the Convention the country had legally stipulated land borders, the Convention also allows Kazakhstan to determine the limits of sovereignty at sea.
As for the delineation of the Caspian seabed for subsoil use, according to the document, each country enjoys sovereign rights for subsoil use within its bottom sector.
Up till now, the seabed and subsoil of the Caspian Sea in its northern and central parts have been delineated. Kazakhstan entered into a corresponding agreement with Russia in 1998, as well as a protocol to it in 2002.
The demarcation of the seabed between Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan was fixed in the agreement of 2001 and the protocol to it in 2003. There is also the Kazakh-Azerbaijani-Russian agreement on the point of junction of the lines of delimitation of adjacent sections of the Caspian Sea bottom, signed in 2003.
The agreement of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan on the delimitation of the seabed was fixed by an agreement in 2014.
Moreover, great attention at the summit was paid to environmental issues.
On the basis of general approaches to the preservation of the natural environment of the Caspian Sea, in 2003 the parties concluded a framework convention on the protection of the natural environment of the Caspian Sea, the so-called Tehran Convention. According to the Aktau Convention, any activity that damages biodiversity is prohibited in the Caspian Sea.
The parties also agreed on the rules for the implementation of scientific research in the Caspian Sea.
The signing ceremony was held on August 12 at the 5th Summit of the Heads of State of the Caspian Countries in the Kazakh city of Aktau.
The Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea was signed by President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.