The Russian President said at the opening of the summit that it would be a mistake to divide the Caspian Sea into five sectors, and that summit participants should choose between cooperation or a clash of interests. Vladimir Putin said the Caspian Sea’s legal status should be finalised stage by stage, and that Russia would do everything possible to strengthen regional stability.
The Russian leader stressed that the current summit did not aim to renounce cooperation with other countries.
Mr Putin said Russia was ready to cooperate with regional countries in the fuel and energy sphere, and that such cooperation could include the joint development of Caspian hydrocarbon deposits and their transportation to global markets. In connection with this, President Putin said the Russian pipeline system was quite viable, and that the Caspian Pipeline Consortium had started operating. The Russian leader said, although Russia had its own interests and projects for transporting energy resources, it did not object to the diversification of export routes. He said the choice of new pipeline routes should not be politically motivated, and that such routes should be justified from economic and environmental standpoints.
The Russian President proposed establishing an inter-governmental centre for monitoring the Caspian environment. Mr Putin said combating international terrorism was another extremely important regional issue.