The Caspian Sea: legal challenges of delimitation between littoral states
Before Soviet Union had collapsed the legal status and delimitation were more or less clear between the USSR and Iran. At present this issue has an importance for five countries: Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. The legal status of the Sea is unclear. If it is a sea then the Law of the Sea Convention must be applied. It becomes more problematic because of the fact that only Russia has ratified the UNCLOS and the Caspian is not wider than 200 miles to establish the EEZ. In another case, if it is a lake, rules of customary law are to be applied and the Sea is to be delimited on the basis of median line. Despite that fact that some of the countries (Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan) have an agreement on sharing part of the Caspian Sea there are still claims from Iran and Turkmenistan, because for them division of the Sea with sector principle is not advantageous. It is important to give attention to historical background of the dispute, researching Treaties of 1921 and 1940 signed between Iran and the USSR, which have influence on the current regulation of the Caspian Sea.
PublisherUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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