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Sea or lake: expert clarifies Caspian Sea's legal status

17.08.2018, 20:09 2872
Ambassador-at-Large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan Zulfiya Amanzholova has clarified the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea in terms of the geographical definition of the reservoir.

According to her, the littoral states stopped the negotiations on whether the Caspian Sea should be delineated as a sea or a lake, which started more than 20 years ago. The sides agreed to delineate the Caspian Sea as a reservoir, requiring the establishment of its legal status.

For instance, Kazakhstan's stance was based on applying the provision of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to the Caspian Sea. By contrast, the Azerbaijani side suggested delineating the Caspian Sea as a lake.

At the end, according to the Convention, the Caspian seabed shall be delineated under the lake principle, while the surface shall be delineated under the principle of the Law of the Sea, but with some changes. We have applied the mutatis mutandis principle, i.e. we use the provisions that are suitable for the Caspian Sea with the needed changes. For instance, the maritime law establishes the 12 nautical miles limit for a territorial sea, whereas we have established it in the Convention as 15 nautical miles. That is, we set a precedent," Zulfiya Amanzholova told a briefing at the Central Communications Service on Friday.


It is to be recalled that the leaders of the five Caspian littoral states signed the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea on August 12 in Aktau.


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