President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: I would like to begin by expressing my gratitude to Azerbaijan for bringing us together at this summit, which even several months ago seemed absolutely hypothetical, but has concluded with some entirely tangible results. That is why I want to say right away that I am also quite satisfied with the results of the third Caspian Summit.
We did more than work within the framework of the agenda we set out earlier, which was a major agenda. We have just signed the Agreement on Security Cooperation in the Caspian Sea. We have been preparing this agreement for a long time and it is certainly very important for our coordination and for maintaining peace and order on our common sea. But we have gone beyond the framework of our initial agenda and were able to discuss a wide range of issues in a constructive, friendly tone, including the most complicated subject of sea delimitation. I believe we have made progress on this matter too.
What does that progress entail? It entails making the decision to instruct our corresponding agencies to discuss within the next three months and agree upon the width of the national maritime zones, based on sea borders of 24 or 25 miles off the coast, including the maritime areas, and to prepare corresponding suggestions so that they can be then approved by heads of Caspian states. If we make progress in the timeframe established, that will mean that we may sign a full-fledged agreement on the legal status of the Caspian Sea.
Today, we began our discussion with general declarations, in which we absolutely agreed that all conventions regarding the Caspian Sea, pertaining to sovereignty over it, and addressing various areas of business, security, and other agreements – all of these are within our common responsibility, and hence no other country may participate in the discussion of these issues. I therefore believe that we made a good step forward with regard to the main subject, the legal status of the Caspian Sea. Now, these instructions should be implemented to produce very good results quite soon.
We need those results not only in order to divide the water space, demarcate borders, and establish boundaries of our sovereignty, but also to simply engage in practical economic cooperation.
A while ago, Russia proposed the idea of an organisation on economic cooperation in the Caspian region. My colleagues have had the following attitude toward this proposal: overall, an organisation is a nice thing, but before setting one, an agreement is to be reached on its every aspect. If we can do that, then the phase of interstate cooperation and bilateral cooperation will be much nearer and clearer.
Incidentally, we agreed on the Protocols to the Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea, and soon they all will be signed by our colleagues. So I believe that in this regard, the summit was successful.
As for the suggestions made by my colleagues, I would like to specifically note a most constructive contribution made by each participant in the meeting. We agreed to meet on an annual basis without any breaks which was the case recently; meeting once every three years is unacceptably infrequent. Our experts must meet much more often, and in line with President Ahmadinejad’s proposal, we have agreed that there will be no fewer than five such meetings per year, which is definitely useful.
I would like to repeat that we are seeing progress and certainly this makes all of us happy. I want to once again thank the organisers of our Caspian Summit and the President of Azerbaijan in particular. Mr Aliyev, thanks again for bringing all of us together.
I would like to invite everyone present to the Russian Federation, where I hope we can finalise this very important matter. It all depends on us.