Leaders of five States bordering the Caspian Sea have signed a landmark deal on its legal status, easing regional tension and potentially facilitating lucrative oil and gas projects.
The leaders of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan yesterday, in the Kazakh city of Aktau, signed the agreement on the status of the inland sea, which has been disputed since the collapse of the Soviet Union rendered obsolete agreements between Tehran and Moscow.
The host, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, said before the signing that the leaders were "participants in a historic event."
"We can admit that consensus on the status of the sea was hard to reach and not immediate. The talks lasted more than 20 years and called for a lot of joint efforts from the parties," Nazarbayev said.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin said the convention had "epoch-making significance".