Opening Remarks at Meeting on Cooperation in the Caspian Region.Part 2
August 17, 2009
Вступительное слово на совещании по прикаспийскому сотрудничеству.
17 августа 2009 года
The Caspian Seas mineral resources have enormous significance in providing regional and global energy security. Typically, questions of exploiting and transporting those resources are of interest not only to the five states surrounding the Caspian Sea, the so-called Caspian Five, but to our partners outside that region as well, those who are interested in exploiting these kinds of resources. We understand this quite well, we are not shutting out but nevertheless, I would like to specifically emphasise our principal position. For our part, when it comes to the Caspian Sea, we place priority on the interests of the Russian Federation and the other Caspian states. That is the priority we will focus on as we discuss the rules and principles of Caspian Sea cooperation.
What is our main goal? Without a doubt, it is to preserve the Caspian Sea for future generations, not allowing it to be spoiled. In this regard, it is imperative to implement a variety of actions aimed at exploring and developing the riches that the Caspian Sea offers, preserving its unique and diverse flora and fauna as well as valuable species of fish, and reinforcing our multilateral contractual and legal foundation in preserving the environment.
In particular, we must complete work on the protocols to the Tehran Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea. As you recall, this convention was signed in 2003 and went into effect on August 12, 2006.
Still, preparations of the conventions protocols are going very slowly. They are devoted to a variety of very important issues, such as preserving biodiversity, ascertaining sources of pollution, assessing the effects of pollution on the environment, and many other issues.
The next point I would like to make is that naturally, Russia is profoundly interested in having the Caspian region remain a zone espousing good neighbourly relations, stability, and mutually beneficial cooperation. To achieve these goals, it is imperative that we hold active talks on defining the legal status of the Caspian Sea. We have been working on this for over 12 years, and frankly, these talks are very difficult in fact, they are sometimes at a standstill. They involve tough, heavy, sensitive work. Still, it is quite clear that providing new momentum to the work on drawing up a Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea is in all of our interests.
In the time since we first began, we have achieved certain results, including in the area of managing subsoil resources. We were able to delimit the seabed in the northern part of the Caspian Sea with Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. We feel that this positive experience could also be used to delimit the southern part of the sea. Clearly, there are some difficulties; these include issues regarding the formula for delimitation, delimiting the seabed, and delimiting the water, but nevertheless, I think that with good will and taking into account the approaches we generally use, these decisions can be made.
Initiatives on multilateral security cooperation around the Caspian Sea are progressing, albeit slowly. In our view, the key goal is to provide security in the fight against terrorism. We must also act to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction and illegal drug trafficking. I therefore think that we must do everything in our power to convoke an expert meeting in Baku to develop a pentalateral agreement on security cooperation around the Caspian Sea as soon as possible; our side will give corresponding instructions.In order to strengthen our position in the region, we need to work on economic development of Russias part of the Caspian coast: first and foremost, we are looking at improving transport infrastructure, modernising shipbuilding and ship repairing facilities, building harbour facilities, and developing new methods for hydrocarbon production and transportation. We have here at our meeting heads of major Russian companies both state and private companies. So, we need to think of possible solutions to these problems as well.The creation of the Caspian Sea Economic Cooperation Organisation could contribute significantly to improving our economic ties. This matter was discussed last autumn, here in Astrakhan, at the Intergovernmental Economic Conference. And although no decision was made, there was significant interest in such an organisation.