MOSCOW (Dispatches) -- The five countries which border the Caspian Sea will adopt a convention on its legal status on Sunday, a deal which has been under discussion for more than two decades, the Kremlin said in a statement on Friday.
It said the convention would be signed in Kazakhstan during the Fifth Caspian Summit in Aktau where representatives of Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Russia and Turkmenistan would be present.
President Hassan Rouhani will represent Iran at the two-day event.
The convention, which has been under discussion for more than two decades, would grant special status to the Caspian Sea, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said in an interview with Russia’s Kommersant daily.
The status, he said, will be assigned based on the body of water’s "geographic, hydrological, and other features."
Concerning the marine resources, Karasin said, "The littoral states will have the full jurisdiction over resources in their sectors of the seabed."
Head of the Center for Central Asia and Caucasus Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences, Stanislav Pritchin, said the Aktau summit will be the beginning of a new era for the Caspian region.
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water by area and is variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea.
The issue of the Caspian Sea’s legal regime gained importance following the breakup of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the emergence of new independent states.
Iran says the Caspian Sea's legal regime should be drawn up based on mutual trust, consensus, and understanding and must take into account the common interests of all involved countries.