President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues,
Summits between the Caspian countries’ leaders usually take place in a friendly and business-like spirit characterised by the firm determination to achieve concrete results on the basis of trust, mutual understanding and consideration of each other’s interests.
This was the spirit in which we exchanged views just before at the restricted format meeting. Most importantly, we agreed on the political declaration that for the first time sets out the main principles for our five-way cooperation in the Caspian. These agreements are in the long-term interests of all countries taking part. I am grateful to our partners for their willingness and ability to work out needed and mutually acceptable compromise solutions.
Ahead, we have to complete preparation of the convention on the Caspian’s legal status. I am sure that it is within our ability to reach agreement on all outstanding matters and adopt the convention at the next summit.
As we organise our work, we need to put our partnership’s potential to more effective use. It is in our interests to launch big joint projects, encourage reciprocal investment, create new jobs and strengthen the contacts between our peoples. I am sure that through our combined efforts we can transform our region into a fast-growing market of nearly 250 million people.
The energy sector is an important area for cooperation. The Caspian countries are world leaders in oil and gas production. We could work more closely together on the global hydrocarbons market, including on issues such as price formation and guaranteeing global and regional energy security.
We should make more active use of our natural competitive advantages, above all our countries’ advantageous geographical location. Given that freight transport in the Caspian region is mostly by sea, our main task is to develop a modern logistics infrastructure and make more effective use of transport links so as to ensure steady development and economic growth in our countries.
At the same time, we must do everything within our power to make sure that development of the region’s countries does not harm the environment. This kind of situation would be unacceptable in the Caspian Sea. The intergovernmental agreement on rational use of biological resources that we are signing today aims to protect and preserve the Caspian’s ecosystem.
Another topical issue is that of preserving populations of valuable fish species. The five-state commission set up specially for this purpose plays a key role in this work and has had its status raised from inter-agency to intergovernmental body. Its duties include coordinating our countries’ policy on joint use of biological resources, including regulating the fishing industry, and it has the power to impose temporary bans on fishing if need be.
Our common priorities include expanding cooperation on monitoring and forecasting weather, climate and the state of the Caspian Sea. We think that the signing of the five-state agreement on cooperation in hydrometeorology will make shipping safer and more predictable and help us to develop offshore hydrocarbon reserves.
Disaster warning and relief is another important part of our work and we will sign an agreement in this area today too. As a first step, we propose holding full-scale five-party training exercises in 2016 for our rapid response services. This will enable us to test in practice the warning procedures and rescue services’ coordination.
We must continue improving the legal base and developing common norms and standards for activity on the Caspian. We need to ratify in swift time the protocols on responding to oil spills, protecting the Caspian Sea from pollution and preserving biological diversity, which were adopted in order to implement in concrete form the Tehran Convention on Protecting the Marine Environment of 2003.
Friends, the Caspian’s prosperity and future are our shared responsibility and we must do everything we can to build up stability and security in the region and speed up economic development for all the Caspian countries.
Thank you for your attention.