Moscow to Host Council of Foreign Ministers from Caspian Littoral States

05 December 2023

Foreign Ministers of the Caspian littoral states are scheduled to meet in Moscow on December 5 as part of a new regular ministerial dialogue. The event, chaired by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, will also be attended by representatives of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan.


The parties plan to discuss regional issues of mutual interest, with a focus on priorities for the development of Caspian cooperation.


Earlier, the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, pointed out that this event launches a new regular dialogue between the foreign ministers. The diplomat also added that several meetings between Lavrov and his counterparts were scheduled on the margins of the Foreign Ministers' Council. On August 18, Lavrov held a meeting with the ambassadors of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan to Russia, where they discussed deepening cooperation in the Caspian 5 format, including preparations for the upcoming meeting at the level of foreign ministers in Moscow.

Decisions of the five states

Cooperation in the Caspian region is an important area of Russia's foreign policy. "The importance of the Caspian Sea for the Russian Federation is determined by its strategic position in the center of Eurasia, at the crossroads of transport and energy arteries of the continent, the presence of a huge amount of minerals and bioresources, the factor of intertwining civilizations living here," Lavrov explained in an article for the International Affairs magazine. The minister also noted the need to maintain peace, stability and security in the region and set as a key task "ensuring the rational use of resources, protection and preservation of the natural environment of this unique body of water, ensuring environmental and transportation security in the Caspian Sea."

"To this end, Russia advocates the full development of multifaceted systemic cooperation within the framework of the P5 and the gradual institutionalization of this process. We are actively working to expand ties with our neighbors in the region in all spheres. We proceed from the fact that all Caspian issues should be resolved exclusively by the five littoral states on the basis of consensus, without allowing the negative impact of extra-regional forces," the article of the head of Russian diplomacy emphasizes.

Contacts of the regional "five" take place regularly, including at the highest level. Thus, six Caspian summits have already taken place: in 2002, 2007, 2010, 2014, 2018 and 2022. Contacts are conducted not only on the political and economic track: eight Caspian Media Forums have already taken place, cultural contacts are also supported, and contacts among the youth of the countries are developing. Various cooperation initiatives have been put forward: in particular, Kazakh President Kasym-Jomart Tokayev proposed to create a Caspian food hub to increase mutual trade turnover.

Caspian Sea protection

An important place in the discussions of the Five is occupied by environmental issues of the unique Caspian region. On August 15, 2023, the Russian government ratified the protocol on the protection of the Caspian Sea from pollution from land-based sources, signed in Moscow in 2012 by the five Caspian littoral states.

In an interview with Kazakhstanskaya Pravda, Russian President Vladimir Putin emphasized that it is the environmental agenda that is prioritized within the contacts of the Caspian littoral states. "We attach great importance to the preservation of populations of rare animal species, in particular, the Caspian seal and fish - especially sturgeon," Putin noted. - To preserve the ecosystem and biodiversity of the Caspian Sea, we are implementing projects on protection of mammals and birds, purification of seawater from plastic, sturgeon breeding and cultivation, and many others."

Environmental issues are also expected to be an important part of the ministerial discussions in Moscow.



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Photo: Alex Zarubi/Unsplash

Based on materials from TASS