Diplomacy of the Caspian littoral states

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The fifth summit of the Caspian littoral states in Aktau 2018

The Diplomacy of the Caspian littoral states is an effort to prevent crises in the Caspian region and build the trust and goodwill to reach a stable agreement, and boost the bargaining power of governments in the region.[1]

Geopolitics underlie this diplomacy, and regional issues. In general, its mission is to establish, design and amend regional and international rules in the structure of the world system and the littoral states.[2]

The littoral states of the Caspian Sea include five countries: the Islamic Republic of Iran, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Azerbaijan. These governments use the means at their disposal, including hard power, soft power and smart power, to achieve hard security, soft security and smart security.[3]


The diplomatic processes of the Caspian littoral states include summits in the following years and situations:

1/Treaty of Turkmenchay 1828

2/Ashgabat 2002

3/Tehran 2007

4/Baku 2010

5/Astrakhan 2014

6/Nur-Sultan 2017

7/Aktau 2018[4]

History of area diplomacy[edit]

1.The first effort of diplomacy in the Caspian Sea was the Turkmenchay Treaty, which barred Iran from having military ships in the Caspian Sea.

2.The first Caspian Sea Summit was held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, in April 2003. The items included combating environmental pollution in the Caspian Sea and the means to protect the water in the largest lake in the world.[5]

3.The next summit was held in Tehran, the capital of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and ended with the signing of the Caspian Environment Convention. This was the first international law document related to the Caspian Sea, approved and implemented by the legislatures of the five littoral states. The meeting agreed on general principles of fisheries, protection of the Caspian Sea, and shipping from littoral countries. Another item on the agenda was a memorandum of understanding on security and military co-operation aimed at fighting terrorism and extremism.[6]

4.The third meeting, November 18, 2010 in Baku, achieved the signing of the Security and Military Cooperation Agreement, the second legal document after the Caspian Environment Convention.[7]

5.The fourth summit, held in 2014 in Astrakhan, in the Russian Federation, resulted in three agreements:

  • Protection and optimal use of water resources
  • weather
  • Prevention and response to emergencies.

6.The Astana summit was held at the foreign ministers level in 2017. Although the foreign ministers had sufficient authority to co-ordinate some parts of the Caspian Sea Convention, disagreement on some key issues caused confusion, and the summit failed and adjourned until the following year. Some of the issues:

7.The sixth meeting, held in 2018 in Aktau, a coastal city in Kazakhstan, reached agreement on the forms of exploitation of the Caspian Sea, and the water and coastal boundaries between the five littoral states. The agreement had 24 articles. some provisions included:

  • Article 1: A warship belonging to peacekeeping forces must have the insignia of one of the five littoral states of the Caspian Sea and be under the command of an officer formally appointed by that government.
  • Article 2: Sovereignty, sovereign rights, monopoly and jurisdiction will be exercised in the Caspian Sea. The Convention set out the rights and obligations of the parties, including the waters, bed, subsoil, natural resources and airspace above the sea.
  • Article 5: The Caspian Sea water area is divided into inland waters, territorial waters, fishing areas and common sea area.[9]

Political cooperation[edit]

Energy and its transmission[edit]

After the Middle East, the Caspian Sea has the next largest energy resources, but the security problems in the Middle East and the consequent reluctance to invest there have led to a focus on the Caspian Sea geopolitical region and its energy resources.[10]

Available information says that the oil resources of the Caspian Sea are second place only to the Persian Gulf in terms of the amount of reserves. The Caspian Sea basin carries 48 billion barrels of oil.

The Caspian Sea basin also has gas reserves of 292 trillion cubic meters, the fourth largest in the world.[11]


  1. Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline
  2. South Caucasus Pipeline
  3. Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India Pipeline

The vast energy resources of this geopolitical region are always pregnant with the realization of crisis, especially since the five states have not yet set rules and laws for the exploitation of the Caspian Sea resources which have been fully approved by the five littoral states. The main reason for these disputes and crises is how to transfer and export oil and gas resources to other parts of the world, especially Europe.


  1. ^ ایزدی، جهانبخش و تکبیری، مجتبی(1393)،"تاصیر دیپلماسی هوشمند در ارتباطات سیاسی نظام بین‌الملل"، فصلنامه مطالعات روابط بین‌الملل، دوره7، شماره26.
  2. ^ واعظی، محمود1389 بحران‌های بین‌المللی:تحلیل نظری و مطالعه موردی، تهران، دفتر مطالعات سیاسی و بین‌المللی وزارت امور خارجه
  3. ^ Ghazi, Younes (2015) “Smart Diplomacy and the Future of Diplomatic Undertaking”, Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, November 6, 2015.
  4. ^ Лаумулин, М. (2010) Центральноазиатская Политика США При Президенстве Б. Обаммы, Центральная Азия и Кавказ, Том 13, Выпуск 4. - Мир 24 (2016) “Саммит глав «Прикаспийской Пятерки» Состоится в 2017 году в Астане”, (13/07/2016), Доступна на: http://mir24.tv/news/politics/14723808, Дата Обращения: 14/07/2016.
  5. ^ Российское Информационное Агенство (2009) “Прикаспийские Государства Приближаются к Взаимопониманию по Вопросам Делимитации Акватории Каспийского Моря“, Iran.ru, (14/04/2009), Доступна на: http://www.iran.ru/news/economics/56731/Prikaspiyskie_gosudarstva_priblizhay utsya_k_vzaimoponimaniyu_po_voprosam_delimitacii_akvatorii_Kaspiyskogo_ morya_Lavrov, Дата Обращения: 24/02/2016.
  6. ^ موسوی، سیدرسول(1388)آینده دریای خزر، فصلنامه‌آسیای مرکزی و قفقاز، شماره65
  7. ^ РИЯ НОВОСТИ (а) (2010) “Саммиты Глав Прикаспийских Государств. Справка”, РИЯ НОВОСТИ, (18/11/2010), Доступна на: https://ria.ru/world/20101118/297532680.html, Дата Обращения: 17/02/2016.
  8. ^ Мир 24 (2016) “Саммит глав «Прикаспийской Пятерки» Состоится в 2017 году в Астане”, (13/07/2016), Доступна на: http://mir24.tv/news/politics/14723808, Дата Обращения: 14/07/2016.
  9. ^ مرکز امور حقوقی بین‌الملل ریاست جمهوری www.cila.ir
  10. ^ مولایی، یوسف و جانباز، دیان(1395)"ژئوپلیتیک و موازنه قدرت در خزر"، مطالعات اوراسیای مرکزی، دوره9، شماره1.
  11. ^ United States Energy Information Administration (2013), “Oil and Natural Gas Production Is Growing In Caspian Sea Region”, September 11, Available at: http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=12911, Accessed on: 11/02/2016.