By: Kayhan Int’l Staff Writer
The world’s largest inland sea, hemmed in by the coastlines of five large world countries and possessing a wide variety of species, including the prized sturgeon fish that yields caviar, as well as rich oil and natural gas deposits, was the focus of discussions among the littoral states during their 6th Caspian Summit for its constructive exploitation with emphasis on keeping out all meddlers from this fragile ecological system.
As President Hojjat al-Islam Seyyed Ibrahim Raisi said while flying to Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan, for joint meetings (as well as one-on-one) with his counterparts of the four other littoral states, the goal is management of the resources of the Caspian Sea, promoting transportation, and prevention of the undue presence of non-littoral countries.
The participants exchanged views on development of the five countries’ mutual trade, transit, energy, agriculture and tourism.
According to analysts, these discussions would help to further enhance marine transit in the Caspian Sea via the ports of the five littoral states, that is, Iran, Russia, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and the Caucasus Republic of Azerbaijan.
The economies of the Caspian countries would definitely get a boost through increased railway connection between Iran and the landlocked Central Asian countries for trade ties to the outside world through the Islamic Republic’s ports on the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.
Reduction of customs duties will also boost cargo transit among the Caspian Sea states, and the goods moving through this economical feasible corridor between the countries of Europe and South and Southeast Asia – bypassing the circuitous and expense sea route through the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea.
The Ashgabat Summit is an opportunity to explore practical ways of cooperation in the energy sector, given the rich hydrocarbon reserves on the Caspian Sea bed and the proper division, as well as, their eco-friendly exploitation to avoid harming the natural environment which is the habitat of a variety of marine life and also provides breeding grounds for migratory birds.
The Summit is also an opportunity for increasing tourism in the sea and its coastlines, but with emphasis on keeping out meddlers, especially from Western Europe, and in particular the US.
Iran and Russia, which had traditionally shared the Caspian waters before the emergence of the three independent littoral republics, know from experience that the US is the sworn enemy of all independent countries, and under the guise of technical and industrial cooperation is always trying to poke its dirty nose in regional affairs by creating tensions and misunderstands – facts that have dawned on all member states.
To sum up, Russia and Iran possess and are willing to share, the technical, industrial, and scientific knowhow, along with common cultural factors that play an important role in preserving the independence and sovereignty of the Caspian littoral states.