The 4th summit of the heads of state of the Caspian littoral states took place in the Russian city of Astrakhan on Monday, 29 September. The President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin,the President of Iran Hassan Rouhani, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev and President of Turkmenistan Gurbangulu Berdimuhamedov attended the summit.
An agreement on cooperation in hydrometeorology of the Caspian Sea, an agreement on cooperation in warning and liquidating emergencies in the Caspian Sea and an agreement on the preservation and rational use of water biological resources in the Caspian Sea were signed by officials representing the five countries.
A statement was also issued at the end of the meeting.
Speaking at the end of the summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin saıd that one of the biggest achievements of the meeting was the considerable progress made in preparing the convention on the Caspian's legal status. Putin added that "This was made possible by the fact that we have now agreed on the key principles for our countries' activity in the Caspian". The President said:
"These principles are set out in the political declaration that the five presidents just signed. This declaration will form the future convention's cornerstone. I cannot claim that all issues have been settled completely, but there are far fewer outstanding matters now.
Our experts have received the instruction to step up consultations on the remaining issues to be settled and we have every reason to expect that we will soon have the convention ready for signing and will thus successfully conclude the work that has been going on for 18 years now."
Commonspace.eu political editor said in a comment that whilst the Russians are trying to present this as a breakthrough summit it is clear that considerable differences remain between the position of the different sides. Sending the problems back to officials is not going to narrow the differences since all five countries are very hierarchical and the leaders take all the important decisions anyway. However for the moment it suits all the sides to present an image of harmony. For the smaller countries especially containing the pressure from Russia and Iran is for the moment the highest priority."
photo: The Leaders of the five Caspian Sea Littoral states at their summit in Astrakhan on Monday. 29, September 2014.
In this op-ed Dennis Sammut discusses two competing narratives emerging in Brussels and Ankara. Often blurred and episodical, they need to be challenged where necessary