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Vladimir Putin does not want to give Caspian competitors
Material posted: Publication date: 24-09-2014

Moscow opposes division of the Caspian into sectors. This position of the Russian Federation confirmed yesterday the special representative of Vladimir Putin on the eve of the Caspian summit in Astrakhan, where should gather the heads of all the littoral States – Iran, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Russia. The desire to preserve the status quo of the Caspian sea, the experts explain the attempt of Russia to protect its natural gas exports to Europe from competition with the Asian gas, which can go on the Old continent for the future TRANS-Caspian gas pipeline.

Yesterday, the special envoy of Russian President on delimitation and demarcation of Russian borders with CIS States, Igor Bratchikov said that does not exclude the possibility of concluding the Fourth Caspian summit on September 29 of the Convention on the legal status of the Caspian sea. To date, the legal status of the Caspian countries in terms of separation of water and bottom is governed by the treaties from 1921 and 1940. Although, for example Iran supported the division of Caspian sea into five equal parts – on the number of riparian countries. Even if the Convention on the legal status will be adopted at the summit, he will be an important step in the preparation of this document. "The Convention may be concluded in the foreseeable future and the upcoming September 29 in Astrakhan Caspian summit will be made a major step forward, which will bring this process to the finish line," suggests brothers.

It is expected that the summit will discuss key issues of cooperation between riparian countries on the Caspian sea, implementation of decisions taken at the previous summit in 2010 in Baku, and will outline priority areas of cooperation between the countries of the region in the future, the press service of the Kremlin.

The work on the Convention continues past 18 years. In particular, the parties cannot reach agreement between countries on the topic of water bottom. Brothers yesterday recalled that the Russian Federation position on dividing the Caspian sea remained unchanged. "The Russian side does not adhere to the view section of the Caspian sea to any sector. The Russian side from the very beginning was opposed to the principle of section waters of the Caspian sea, to mention the fact that we are interested to keep this mode as it exists in accordance with the treaties", – said brothers.

Current contract provides for freedom of navigation throughout the waters of the sea, freedom of fishing with the exception of national fishing zones and a ban on swimming in its waters of vessels flying the flag of non-Caspian States. And if Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Russia allow the division of the Caspian seabed into national sectors from the so-called modified median line, leaving the water area in common use, then Iran advocates the division of the Caspian according to a fifth part of the sea at each of the coastal States.

The brothers recalled that at the last Caspian summit in Baku, the Russian side agreed that sea appeared in national zone is 25 miles, including the area under the sovereignty and fishing zones.

Russian special representative hopes that the problem of delimitation of the water surface can be resolved during the Astrakhan summit. "I think that the delimitation of water would, if it is to spend within an agreed framework, to facilitate the navigation. This all together would allow us to get closer to the General Convention, and I hope that during the meeting, which will take place in Astrakhan, the problem of delimitation of the water will be close to a solution", said yesterday Igor Bratchikov.

Rector of the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian foreign Ministry Evgeny Bazhanov doubt that during the Fourth summit, the question about a complete delimitation of the seabed can be solved. "Russia is its position on the Caspian sea has not changed and continues to insist," said he. Although the unresolved status of this issue is also not quite satisfied with the Russian authorities, of losing its influence in the Caspian sea is unacceptable for her. "This will mean that countries will be able to act independently. So, the likelihood is high that the Caspian countries can invite to cooperation with Western colleagues – thereby removing themselves from Russia", – said Bazhanov.

"In the case of the division of coastal countries will be able to build oil and gas pipelines, what is not interested, in particular, Iran and Russia", – says the Deputy of the chief editor of "Oil and capital" Igor Ivakhnenko. Thus, Turkmenistan will be able to realize the TRANS-Caspian pipeline project to withdraw their resources to the European market. And Turkmen gas in this case will be able to compete in Europe with Russian fuel, assumes the expert.

However, with him not quite agree expert at the Institute of Oriental studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences Stanislav Pritchin. "Turkmenistan says though quite declarative about the diversity of its gas development, however, and the future TRANS-Caspian gas pipeline and TAPI project (Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India) is quite vague," he notes.

To date, the major volumes of Turkmen gas going to China, while the real economic prospects of the country in the construction of the TRANS-Caspian gas pipeline no. "Moreover, Azerbaijan is currently seeking long-term contracts on Deposit "Shah-Deniz" and he's not interested in competition with the Turkmen gas," – says pitchin. In addition, according to the existing provisions, Turkmenistan to supply gas to Europe, will need to obtain the consent of all five countries of the Caspian basin that is not yet possible, resembles the General Director of the Institute for Caspian cooperation Sergei Mikheyev.

In any case wait for breakthrough solutions at the upcoming Caspian summit is not worth it, experts say. "Russia is not so weak to avoid disadvantageous changes in the Caspian sea. But not strong enough to lead the integration process. Moreover, the interests of Caspian countries are too different," concludes Ivakhnenko.

Olga Solovieva


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