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Leaders walk along the Volga embankment during the Caspian Summit, Astrakhan, Russia, Sept. 29, 2014 (Russian Presidential Press and Information Office photo).

Low-Key Caspian Sea Summit Has Far-Reaching Implications

Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014

The leaders of all five littoral states attended the fourth Caspian Sea summit in the Russian city of Astrakhan yesterday. The latest meeting was more significant than previous summits held in Turkmenistan in 2002, Iran in 2007 and Azerbaijan in 2010, as the parties reached important agreements on some issues. Yet, others continue to divide them, with implications that reach far beyond the Caspian.

At yesterday’s summit, the five littoral state presidents—Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Turkmenistan’s Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, Azerbaijan’s Ilham Aliyev, Iran’s Hassan Rouhani and Kazakhstan’s Nursultan Nazarbayev—renewed their commitment to keeping non-Caspian countries from establishing a military presence on the sea. Regarding their own armed forces, the sides agreed to ensure “a stable balance of arms in the Caspian Sea,” while calling for limiting military construction to “reasonable sufficiency, taking into account the interests of all parties without harming the security of each other.” ...

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