Caspian Sea nations sign accord on resources, borders


AKTAU, Kazakhstan -- The leaders of the five states bordering the resource-rich Caspian Sea signed a landmark deal Sunday (August 12) in Aktau, Kazakhstan, on the legal status of the inland sea, which boasts a wealth of oil and gas reserves and sturgeon.

The leaders of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan signed the agreement on the status of the inland sea.

The host, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, said before the signing that the leaders were "participants in a historic event".

"The talks lasted more than 20 years and called for a lot of joint efforts from the parties," Nazarbayev said.

The convention allows for the construction of underwater oil and gas pipelines, sets national quotas for fishing, said Nazarbayev.

The deal provides a means of delimiting national boundaries in the sea, whose underground energy resources are estimated at 50 billion barrels of oil and just under 300 trillion cubic feet (8.4 trillion cubic metres) of natural gas.

Iran, which ended up with the smallest share of the sea under the terms of the convention, is viewed as a potential loser in the deal.

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