Vital Caspian Graphics - Challenges Beyond Caviar

The uncertain status of the Caspian Sea


Sea, but an over-arching agree- ment has yet to be reached on the division of the Caspian waters and – indirectly – its natural and mineral resources. But the north- ern states – Russia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan – signed a trilat- eral agreement in 2003 that allows them to proceed with the develop- ment of the hydrocarbon potential of the northern Caspian. The vital economic interests provide third parties and international stake- holders with a good reason to downplay the tensions between states bordering on the sea.

Figure: Claiming the Caspian Sea. The high economic expectations and the newfound quest for na- tional identity partly explain the obstacles to agreement over the legal status of the Caspian Sea. Existing maritime agreements be- tween Iran and the Soviet Union, formerly the only countries bor- dering the sea, needed re-negotia- tion as the three new republics of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turk- menistan emerged. Negotiations among the five countries are un- derway for a regional convention on the legal status of the Caspian

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