0738 GMT August 24, 2019
Senior officials from Iran, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Russia signed the deal during the First Caspian Economic Forum in Bishkek on Monday, according to Fars News Agency.
The meeting featured discussion over the role of the Caspian Sea in international economy, and the possible ways through which the countries lying on the inland sea’s shoreline could use existent capacities for further inter-state cooperation in the areas of digital technology and creation of free trade zones.
The signatories agreed that mutual development would contribute to preservation of stability in the region, and laid emphasis on the need for respect for the national interests of the littoral states.
They also addressed the significance of the body of water’s legal status, which was agreed upon by the five countries in August last year in the Kazakh port city of Aktau after more than two decades of intermittent discussion.
As means of enabling better cooperation among them, the Caspian countries also discussed the possibility of creating joint companies, exchanging economic-commercial standards, regulations, and statistics.
Facilitating visa processes was another key point raised in the meeting.
Territorial waters Iran’s ‘red line’
Iran’s First Vice President Es'haq Jahangiri, who attended the forum on Iran’s behalf, addressed regional affairs and the issue of foreign intervention in the region.
He described stability and security of international waters, and in particular Iran’s northern and southern territorial waters the Islamic Republic's "red line.”
Jahangiri said the United States is after destabilizing the region by employing "tyrannical and inhumane" sanctions against the Islamic Republic as well as through provocative presence in the Persian Gulf.
Washington returned the sanctions after leaving a multilateral nuclear agreement with Iran and five other world powers – the UK, France, China, Russia and Germany – in May last year.
Caspian environment protection
The Iranian official also called on the Caspian littoral states to take the environmental aspects into consideration while implementing projects in the Caspian Sea.
"The Caspian Sea possesses rich energy resources ... The littoral states should take the environmental aspects into consideration while exploiting such resources," Jahangiri said at the First Caspian Economic Forum.
The forum started on Sunday brought together senior government officials, representatives of the private sector and academic communities from all five Caspian littoral states, as well as from a number of international organizations to improve trade and investment related to the Caspian Sea.
The sea is estimated to contain about 50 billion barrels of oil and nine trillion cubic meters of gas.
Press TV and Mehr News Agency contributed to this story.