Ksenia Tyurenkova: "Signing of Caspian Convention is only beginning of long journey"
On July 23, another meeting of the Caspian Expert Club will be held in Astrakhan. Topic of this year's meeting between Russian, Kazakh and Azerbaijani experts will be anniversary of signing of the Convention on Legal Status of the Caspian Sea. Director of the Caspian-Eurasia Center Ksenia Tyurenkova discussed this event in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza.
- What do you think about new realities of the Caspian agenda a year after signing of the Convention? What areas have developed the most during this period?
- After the landmark event of August 12, 2018, we all spoke about new stage in development of relations between the Caspian states, about possibility of intensification of integration processes. At the same time, signing of any international treaty, especially multilateral one, is only beginning of a long journey.
The first task facing Caspian countries today is ratification of the Caspian Convention. Right now this document has already been ratified by Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. This Convention is a framework document, and in otder to implement all of its provisions, it's necessary to develop and adopt a whole package of international treaties and agreements. That's why Ministries of Foreign Affairs are actively working today to develop regulatory framework as the basis for cooperation among the Caspian states.
At the same time, we can already see first results of agreements reached on August 12, 2018: active development of trade and economic cooperation, development of transport infrastructure. We hope that this cooperation will give new impetus to development of relations in the industrial, energy, tourism, informational and other areas of mutual interest. In August, the first Caspian Economic Forum will be held in Turkmenistan. It will be a platform for development of contacts between entrepreneurs and business structures of the five Caspian countries.
- Can we expect formation of "breakthrough projects" in the Caspian region in the field of tourism, trade, and infrastructure development?
- Of couse. Despite the fact that regulatory framework of the Caspian model of interstate cooperation is only being formed, we're finally seeing actions, not just promises. The first Caspian Economic Forum, mentioned above, which, I am sure, will help to establish professional contacts, is a glaring example of this.
Over the past few years we've talked a lot about development of tourism in the Caspian region. In June of this year, the first Russian cruise liner Peter the Great, built at the Astrakhan shipbuilding plant Lotos, was commissioned in Astrakhan. It's estimated that it will be ready for launch in the summer of 2020 and will connect Astrakhan, Makhachkala and Derbent with Baku, Enzeli, Nowshehr, Turkmenbashi, Aktau and other ports of the Black and Azov Seas, and it can also be used for Moscow-Saint-Petersburg cruise lines. In addition, direct flights, motorways and railway network are planned for launch.
Development of trade, in addition to creation of transport logistics, is also promoted because of the fact that Caspian states are interconnected with other integrational associations. For example, Kazakhstan and Russia are members of the EAEU.