'The signing of the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea is a historic document. Azerbaijan at all stages of the preparation of this document has worked constructively and contributed, as well as other Caspian countries, in order for this document to be signed. I would like to express my gratitude to my colleagues for their active work so that we can sign today this important document that defines the general legal regime of the Caspian Sea,' Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said today, speaking at the 5th Summit of the heads of the Caspian states, which opened in Aktau, Kazakhstan, informs Azerbaijan State News Agency.
The head of Azerbaijan noted that even before the signing of the Convention, 'the Caspian Sea was a sea of security, a sea of stability, and our relations, both bilateral and multilateral, were the guarantor of stability and security in the Caspian. Between the Caspian countries there is a high level of cooperation, trust, coordination, and this is the main guarantor of security and stability.
'Today, the security and stability in the Caspian are determined by the Convention, which we have signed. Naturally, this opens up broad prospects for close cooperation between the Caspian countries, solving issues of an economic, transport nature, issues that will contribute to improving the living standards of our peoples.
Azerbaijan makes an active and great contribution to improving the environmental situation in the Caspian. The measures that our government is taking are aimed at preventing pollution of the Caspian Sea, especially when carrying out oil and gas operations. During the Summit, I already spoke about this and once again I want to say that all the oil and gas operations carried out by Azerbaijan in the period of independence correspond to the ISO's international standards.
Next year we will celebrate the 70th anniversary of oil production in the Caspian Sea, which is the first oil production at offshore fields. Of course, over the years of exploitation of the Caspian's oil and gas resources in previous years, to a certain extent, the Caspian ecology has suffered. But today our country is doing its best to make the Caspian a zone of ecological development and ecological stability.
Azerbaijan actively invests in transport infrastructure, and the projects we have implemented allow us today to view the Caspian as an important transport artery. The East-West corridor, within which Azerbaijan presents its transit services to Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, the North-South corridor, through which Azerbaijan serves as a transit for Iran and Russia, are projects that strengthen economic cooperation, create new jobs, bring closer our countries to each other and contribute to the strengthening of stability and security.
As part of the meeting today, I noted that cargo traffic has grown more than 100 times this year between Iran and Russia along the North-South corridor. On the territory of Azerbaijan, all work in this direction has been completed, and we expect an increase in freight traffic. Azerbaijan carried out a project that unites the railways of Europe and Asia, and along this corridor we also expect a huge increase in freight traffic. All these are additional opportunities for our countries. This is an economic prosperity, this is the transformation of our countries into an important transit junction of a global scale.
Of course, today's signing ceremony opens new prospects for us. We are focused on continuing cooperation. Azerbaijan has very close, trusting relations with all the Caspian countries, relations based on the consideration of mutual interests, on equality, respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all countries. I would like to express my great satisfaction on behalf of the entire Azerbaijani people by the fact that we have finally signed this important document, which will play a huge role in the future for the successful development of all our countries,' said Ilham Aliyev.
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President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev called the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian historic, adding that Baku has built good relations with the Caspian countries, based on the consideration of mutual interests, RIA Novosti reports.
'The signing of the convention is a historic event. Azerbaijan has been working on it constructively, contributing to its development. Even before the signing of the convention, the Caspian Sea was a sea of stability and security. We have a high level of trust, cooperation. The Caspian security is determined by the convention. Azerbaijan makes an active contribution to the environmental issue, to the issue of ensuring environmental safety in oil and gas operations. We have built good relations on the account of interests, mutual understanding. This document will play an important role for the future of our countries,' Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said in his statement after signing the convention.