Turkmenbashi hosts first Caspian Economic Forum
The First Caspian Economic Forum is being held in Turkmenistan’s Awaza tourist zone near the city of Turkmenbashi.
The agenda of the forum includes the creation of conditions for big projects, discussion on the role of the economy of the Caspian region in a global context, investment attractiveness in the oil and gas, power, transport, trade, agro-industrial, tourism and other sectors of the economy of the Caspian countries of mutual interest.
Besides the delegations of the Caspian countries (Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan), representatives of interested countries close to the Caspian region, heads and representatives of the international economic, financial, transport, environmental and other organizations have been invited to the forum.
Russia is represented at the forum by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
Speaking at the forum, he said that Russia is planning to complete the ratification of the Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea, which was signed by five Caspian states in August 2018.
"Russia is planning to ratify this document soon," the PM told the first Caspian economic forum.
He has described the signing of this convention as a historic event, confirming that the Caspian states can find mutually beneficial solutions without "any recipes being imposed from outside" and also respect each others’ interests.
According to Medvedev, the forum’s goal is to add an effective and modern mechanism of business and trade and economic cooperation to the multi-level system of cooperation between the five Caspian states and enhance important political decisions by particular mutually beneficial projects. Medvedev stressed that a balanced legal basis for developing this cooperation has been established.
The Russian prime minister noted that the discussion of economic and environmental issues related to the Caspian region should include challenges and threats that all Caspian states are facing. Among them is terrorism, drug trafficking, organized crime and uncontrolled migration. "We should be aware of the responsibility, which lies on all Caspian states," TASS cited Medvedev as saying.
The PM said that the Caspian Sea region has huge tourism potential but new infrastructure should be built to explore it. "Beautiful nature, the richest history and culture — all these make it possible for the Caspian Region to take a decent place among the most popular tourist destinations," he noted.
"According to experts’ estimate, the Caspian seacoast can receive at least one million tourists annually, which is much more than now," the PM added. "Nevertheless, much still has to be done in this regard, that is, building the missing infrastructure and creating a competitive tourism product, including sea cruises with visits to port cities," Medvedev stressed.
Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov came up with the initiative to host the First Caspian Economic Forum. He proposed to make the forum a permanent platform for multilateral economic dialogue and hold it alternately in each of the Caspian littoral countries.
The Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea was signed by Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan at the Fifth Caspian summit, which was held in Aktau, Kazakhstan, on August 12, 2018. An effort on drafting it had been underway since 1996. Russian President Vladimir Putin submitted the document for ratification by the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, in July.