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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/4/22

Caspian states agree to keep foreign militaries out

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Message Abdus-Sattar Ghazali
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Presidents of the Caspian countries - Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan and Russia - adopted the final communique' of the sixth Caspian Summit, which was held in Turkmen capital Ashgabat last week.

The summit talks was attended by the leaders of the Caspian countries - President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, President of Iran Ebrahim Raisi, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and the President of Russia Vladimir Putin.

This was Putin's first foreign visit since the start of the war in Ukraine.

In a communique after the meeting, the five leaders emphasized their agreement to bar any foreign militaries from the Caspian.

"The presidents, confirming adherence to the principles and norms of the United Nations Charter and international law, taking into account the increasing role of the Caspian Sea region worldwide, expressed the readiness of the Caspian states to maintain regional security and stability, boost mutually beneficial economic cooperation, ensure the ecologic safety and develop cultural, humanitarian, scientific and other ties," the communique said.

The communique', containing 17 principles laid by the presidents, also emphasized the importance of cooperation in the military sphere among the Caspian nations.

According to the communique, the presidents reaffirmed that the activities of the littoral states in the Caspian Sea will be carried out on the basis of "non-presence in the Caspian Sea of armed forces that do not belong to the littoral states; non-provision by any coastal state of its territory to other states for the commission of aggression and other hostilities against any of the coastal states".

The principles also include "ensuring a stable balance of armaments of the littoral states in the Caspian Sea, carrying out military construction within reasonable sufficiency, taking into account the interests of all littoral states, not endangering each other's security".

The summit participants assured that they would proceed from "respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence, sovereign equality of states, non-use of force or threat of force, mutual respect, cooperation, non-interference in each other's internal affairs; the use of the Caspian Sea for peaceful purposes, turning it into a zone peace, good neighborliness, friendship and cooperation, resolution of all issues related to the Caspian Sea through peaceful means and ensuring security and stability in the Caspian region".

"The presidents noted the existing high potential of comprehensive interaction and positively assessed the level of cooperation between the Caspian states," the communique concluded.

In 2018, the five countries signed a convention for exploitation of the Caspian Sea resources that ended decades of uncertainty.

The 2018 meeting removed the requirement for prior approval to construct underwater gas pipelines through the sea. This removal enables the construction of projects such as the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline"a proposed gas pipeline connecting Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan - which could allow connections to existing pipelines in Georgia and Turkey. This prospect would allow Europe to meet its energy needs while bypassing Russia.

According to Foreign Brief, poor relations between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, and environmental concerns, hindered the project in the past. However, the European desire to reduce natural gas dependence on Russia has made the proposal viable once again. Gas transportation to Europe would give Turkmenistan a vital source of trade without Russian interference. While any such construction is costly and will take time.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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