Policies of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan over the issues of determining the status of the Caspian Sea

For more than two decades, five Caspian littoral states have not been able to agree upon final solution of the legal status of the Caspian Sea.

The major challenge for Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan is the position of Iran, which seems originally maintained the isolationist policy in order to avoid a speedy resolution of the international legal status of the Caspian Sea. Such position resulted in the loss of an initiative in case of Iran. This also resulted in the loss of patience and interest in case of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan since the basic initiatives happened to be in the hands of other littoral countries.

Earlier Russia’s position seemed close to Iran. Russia seemed were ready for long term discussion but not for finding quick compromise. But active involvement of Western companies in the process of development of oil and gas as well as rapid involvement of China to Central Asia to participate in the development of the resources of the Caspian Sea (that no one expected) eventually led to the change of the overall configuration in the region.

These and other circumstances contributed to the fact that Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to some extent gradually came to a common position with Russia and Azerbaijan. Interests of all of these countries have met each other in regard to creation of five national sovereign sectors, i.e. when the Caspian Sea was declared common for shipping and fisheries of the Caspian countries. On this issue, Kazakhstan shares the position of Russia and Azerbaijan today. And tomorrow Turkmenistan will be ready to join to above-mentioned issue after settling the existing territorial claims with Azerbaijan.

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