The 4th summit of the heads of state of the Caspian littoral states has been held in Astrakhan, the Russian Federation.
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev attended the summit.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin welcomed President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, President of Iran Hassan Rouhani, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev and President of Turkmenistan Gurbangulu Berdimuhamedov.
The heads of state posed for photographs.
President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin addressed the event.
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev made a speech at the summit.
Speech by President Ilham Aliyev
- Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich!
Dear summit participants!
First of all, I want to express my gratitude to President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin for the hospitality and the successful organization of the summit. It is good to be in Astrakhan, a city with which Baku has long-standing relations of friendship and cooperation.
The Third Caspian Summit held in Baku in 2010 gave an impetus to the negotiations to address the fundamental issues related to the legal status of the Caspian Sea, especially on the development of common approaches on determining the width of national zones and protection of marine biological resources.
The "Agreement on Security Cooperation in the Caspian Sea" signed at the end of the Baku summit created an important mechanism for cooperation and interaction between border authorities and other government agencies in the fight against smuggling, poaching, illegal migration, human trafficking, organized crime and terrorism.
Over the past period, a considerable amount of work has been done to strengthen the legal framework for cooperation in the Caspian Sea. The parties have finalized and proposed for signing the "Agreement on cooperation in the field of prevention and liquidation of emergency situations in the Caspian Sea". The strengthening of cooperation and collaboration of Caspian littoral states in this area will facilitate more efficient and safe operation of the Caspian Sea.
I would especially like to note the importance of bilateral agreements between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Russian Federation, the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation, as well as a trilateral agreement between Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Russia on the delimitation of the Caspian seabed. These agreements play an important part in a comprehensive settlement of the legal status of the Caspian Sea. Azerbaijan believes that the principles laid down in these agreements can provide a good basis for reaching agreement between all littoral states on the delimitation of the seabed.
We view the Caspian Sea as a sea of friendship, peace, security and cooperation. Azerbaijan attaches great importance to the development of bilateral relations with littoral states on the basis of mutual respect and mutual trust. Close friendly relations and multilevel cooperation between the littoral states are the key to stability, prosperity and security in our region.
Unfortunately, the main threat to regional security is posed by the aggressive policy of Armenia against Azerbaijan. The native land of Azerbaijan – Nagorno-Karabakh and seven other adjacent regions of Azerbaijan – have been under Armenian occupation for more than 20 years. As a result of Armenia’s policy of ethnic cleansing against the Azerbaijanis, more than a million people have become refugees and IDPs. The UN Security Council has adopted four resolutions demanding an immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian troops from the occupied territories. Unfortunately, Armenia keeps ignoring them and the conflict remains unresolved. The conflict must be resolved on the basis of international law and the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan which is recognized by the world community. Unfortunately, the dictatorial regime existing in Armenia is not capable of soberly assessing the realities of the modern world and perceiving the norms of international law. By implanting hatred towards Azerbaijan in their society and elevating the phobia of Azerbaijan to the level of state policy, and by characterizing the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as an inter-religious one, the Armenian regime is directly responsible for the consequences of delaying the conflict settlement.
The deepening of trade and economic relations, the improvement of the investment environment on the development and transportation of energy resources to international markets, the creation of safe and secure communications and the involvement of profitable and environmentally friendly technologies in the region of the Caspian Sea are among our top priorities. The Caspian Sea is a link in many international and regional projects on the development of transport corridors.
Azerbaijan attaches great importance to the cooperation with its Caspian neighbors in the oil and gas sector. Companies from Iran and Russia successfully participate as investors in the development of oil and gas resources in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea. Azerbaijan also carries out the transit of oil and oil products through its territory for companies from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. There are also good prospects in the field of electricity and transportation within the tripartite cooperation among Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia. On 22 September of this year, Azerbaijan commissioned a ferry terminal as part of the first phase of the new Baku International Trade Sea Port. At the first stage the capacity of the port will be 10 million tons and 50,000 containers per year. Upon completion of the third phase, which is planned to be implemented in two years, the capacity will be 25 million tons of cargo and one million containers.
I want to inform my colleagues that last year Azerbaijan launched a new shipyard that meets the highest international standards and is capable of producing all kinds of vessels. This plant opens up additional opportunities for our countries to address the economic problems in the implementation of projects in the field of transport and communications. The modern logistics infrastructure we have created is a major contribution to our common cause and will further deepen cooperation in the Caspian Sea.
I would also like to emphasize the approval of the "Agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of biological resources of the Caspian Sea" adopted by the Third Baku Summit. Azerbaijan attaches great importance to cooperation in the environmental field and shares a common concern of littoral states about the current state of the Caspian environment. We appreciate the common desire to cooperate more effectively and contribute to the activities of the Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea.
Reaffirming our commitment to a consolidated decision adopted at the Baku summit, we are in favor of agreeing an appropriate width of national zones on the basis of 25 nautical miles, which includes the body of water to which the sovereignty of a littoral state applies.
We reiterate our commitment to the generally accepted principle of a midline as a fundamental norm of delimitation of the seabed, and attach great importance to the issues of navigation, open access and transit from the Caspian Sea to other seas.
Azerbaijan also attaches great importance to cooperation with our neighbors in the Caspian Sea in the military and military-technical spheres. We believe that the presence of the armed forces of the parties and any military activities in the Caspian Sea should be based on the principle of equal security for all Caspian states. This will enhance mutual trust between the countries of the region. The Caspian Sea should remain so a zone of peace, friendship, cooperation and good neighborly relations.
In conclusion, I would like to express my gratitude to the Russian side for the organization of the summit, which will undoubtedly further bring the positions of Caspian littoral states closer to the final solution of the important challenges we face. I would like to reaffirm our commitment to dealing with the matters relating to all areas of cooperation, including the legal status of the Caspian Sea, in the spirit of respect for the sovereign rights of littoral states and mutually beneficial partnership. Thank you for your attention.
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The 1st summit of heads of state of the Caspian littoral states was held in Ashgabat in 2002, the 2nd in Tehran in 2007, and the 3rd in Baku in 2010.