New Geopolitical Realities of the Caspian Sea Region
Keywords:The Caspian Sea, legal status, Aktau summit, energy resources, region
On August 12, 2018, the fifth summit of the Caspian Sea coastline states was held in the city of Aktau of Kazakhstan, where five Caspian Sea region countries – Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Iran, and Russia signed the convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, for over two decades, the agreement on the legal status of the Caspian Sea had not been achieved between the Caspian Sea coastline countries. Determination of the legal status of the Caspian Sea depended on several difficulties. In particular, the diverse approaches and interests of these countries over the subject matter. The countries had different approaches to the delimitation of the sea and utilizing its resources. The absence of legal status made it impossible to implement multiple regional and global energy projects. The agreement, reached at the Aktau summit significantly changed the existing geopolitical situation of the Caspian Sea region (which implies central Asia and South Caucasus regions as well).
According to the convention, the countries are prohibited to deploy armed forces of the other non-regional states of the Caspian Sea, which portrays a highly important issue for Russia and Iran. The agreement gives the green light to the perspective of transporting energy resources from central Asian countries in the future. The issue’s significance goes beyond the regional scale and represents a global one, as the energy resources present at the Caspian Sea and the region are alternative energy carriers for Europe.
The purpose of the article is to analyze the new reality created at the convention in Aktau and to determine to what extent does the achieved agreement impacts the geopolitical situation observed in the region.