Ashgabat Discusses Draft Pentalateral Cooperation Agreement on Search and Rescue in the Caspian Sea

The second meeting of authorized representatives of the five Caspian littoral states has concluded in Ashgabat. It discussed the Draft Intergovernmental Cooperation Agreement on Search and Rescue Operations in the Caspian Sea.

Co organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Caspian Sea Institute and Turkmendenizderyayollary Agency of the Ministry of Industry and Communications, the meeting was attended by delegations from Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan.

In November 2010, the head of Turkmenistan put forward an initiative aimed at working out a pentalateral agreement on cooperation in emergency prevention and response in the Caspian Sea at the Third Caspian Summit in Baku (Republic of Azerbaijan).

The document, which had been drafted ahead of the Fourth Caspian Summit, was signed in Astrakhan (Russian Federation) in September 2014. Its role and importance was specifically highlighted in the Communique adopted by the heads of state of the coastal nations following the summit meeting.

At the Fifth Caspian Summit in Aktau (Kazakhstan) in August 2018, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov drew particular attention to the important issue in his speech.

Given the fact that for the most part the Caspian Sea is a commonly shared body of water, it is necessary to take further steps in this direction. A response mechanism is also seen as a key element in maximizing the efficiency of search and rescue operations. In this context, working out the pentalateral agreement on search and rescue in the Caspian Sea is taking on special urgency, the head of Turkmenistan pointed out.

With a view to the initiative, Turkmen specialists drew up the Draft Cooperation Agreement between the Governments of the Caspian Littoral States on Search and Rescue Operation in the Caspian Sea, which was sent to relevant organizations of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Republic of Kazakhstan, and the Russian Federation. The first meeting of experts was held in Ashgabat in March 2019 to negotiate the draft text of the document.

This time, during the two day meeting meaningful discussions between specialists centered on the incorporation of generally recognized rules of maritime law, key provisions of the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) and the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), as well as other documents into the pentalateral Agreement.

As President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov has noted, the Turkmen capital is rapidly and increasingly establishing itself as a hub of international meetings and forums to discuss topical political, economic and cultural issues, including the Caspian Sea related affairs.

Just a few days ago, Ashgabat played host to the sixth meeting of appointed representatives of the coastal nations to consider the Draft Protocol on Cooperation on Safety of Maritime Navigation in the Caspian Sea.

Summing up the meeting, the participants re emphasized the need to steadily build a modern regulatory and legal framework for cooperation between the littoral states.

The negotiation process of the Draft Agreement is also approaching an end. Once signed, it will contribute to close collaboration between the relevant authorities to carry out search and rescue operations in the Caspian Sea and will mark a significant step towards creating an effective emergency response mechanism.

Source: Turkmenistan State News Agency TDH