The new Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea, which is expected to be adopted at the Caspian summit in Aktau on August 12, will define it as neither sea nor lake, State Secretary and Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia Grigory Karasin told Kommersant.
'Neither one nor the other. The Caspian Sea will have a special legal status, which is explained by a set of specific geographic, hydrological and other characteristics,' said Karasin. 'It is an inland water body that has no direct connection to the world's oceans, and therefore cannot be considered a sea.'
At the same time, due to its size, composition of water and features of the bottom, the Caspian cannot be considered a lake, said the deputy head of the Russian Foreign Ministry. 'In this regard, the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982 and the principles applied to transboundary lakes are not applicable to the Caspian Sea: only its bottom is to be delineated in sectors, sovereignty over the water column is established on the basis of other principles,' he explained.
According to Karasin, the issues of delimitation of the seabed and division of the Caspian Sea are solved on a bilateral and tripartite basis: 'That is, not in a five-sided format. In my view, the agreements that Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, as well as Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, jave concluded earlier can also serve as an example for delimitation in the southern part of the sea.'
At the same time, the convention 'clearly fixes the purposes of such a delimitation exclusively for subsoil use and obliges the parties to conduct it through negotiations on the basis of international law,' the Russian diplomat said. 'The coastal states, upon completion of the delimitation, have full jurisdiction over the resources of their bottom section...' Karasin said.