Expert center for eurasian development
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What Comes After the Caspian Sea Deal?

Stanislav Pritchin:

The presidents of the five countries with coastlines on the Caspian Sea — Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan — agreed in August on the sea’s legal status after 22 years of negotiations. U.S. sanctions against Iran have somewhat devalued the importance of the agreement, especially with regard to implementation of economic projects in the region. However, the agreement can become the foundation of a regional security system and form the international legal basis for establishing good-neighborliness. This, in turn, significantly reduces the risks of regional conflicts.

The Caspian summit in August was the latest step in 22 years of discussions and dispute over the status of the sea, but it is by no means a finalized comprehensive agreement. In particular, ownership of the southern part of the seabed (and what it contains) is still in limbo. Iran, with the smallest coastline, is still holding out.

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