The Caspian Sea Convention is signed. The issues pertaining to disputable fields and the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline have not been resolved

The state information agency TDH reports that on 12 August the Presidents of Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran signed the Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea.

The legal status of the Caspian Sea had remained unresolved since the collapse of the Soviet Union. It had been partially governed by obsolete agreements between the USSR and Iran, and partially by bilateral arrangements. Moreover, the constraints were related to the formal definition of the Caspian Sea� depending on whether it was considered to be a lake or a sea, its division was governed by various provisions of the international law, � the news outlet Fergana reports.

The Convention, published inter alia by the Russian government, envisages that each country establishes territorial waters of 15 nautical miles measured from the baselines (coastal lines). Their external borders are considered to be state borders. Moreover, each country establishes a fishing zone of 10 nautical miles adjacent to their territorial waters. It reserves the exclusive right for fishery there.

The division of the seabed and subsoil of the Caspian Sea has not been fully specified. Pursuant to the Convention, the division by sectors is agreed upon with neighbouring and opposite states, taking into account the generally accepted principles and statutes of international, with the view of exercising their sovereign rights for subsoil use and other legal business activity. If a coastal nation builds a pipeline along the sea bed, the route is determined with the consent of the countries along the seabed of which the pipeline will be built.

The coastal nations regulate the navigation within their territorial waters. Outside these borders the navigation is administered unhampered. The Convention also prohibits the presence of national armed forces on the territory of the Caspian Sea which are not part of the Caspian region.

It should be highlighted that the Convention does not deal with disputable gas fields. Let us recall that Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan have failed to share some oil producing fields. Serdar-Kyapaz being the largest of them.

Moreover, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, which are interested in the construction of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline, have previously claimed that only the consent of the countries along the seabed of which a pipeline will be installed is needed to build the aforementioned gas pipeline. However, pursuant to the adopted Convention, the construction project needs to be approved by all five nations.

Source: Chronicles of Turkmenistan