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Majlis Podcast: What A New Caspian Sea Accord Will Really Mean


The foreign ministers of the Caspian Sea littoral states -- Sergei Lavrov of Russia (center), Elmar Mammadyarov of Azerbaijan (left), Mohammad Javad Zarif of Iran (second from left), Rashid Meredov of Turkmenistan (right), and Kairat Abdrakhmanov of Kazakhstan -- during a meeting in Moscow on December 5

A summit of Caspian Sea littoral states is set for August 12 in Kazakhstan’s port city of Aktau. It is the fifth such summit, but this one is the big one.

After some 22 years and more than 50 meetings of working groups, the five countries -- Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan -- are reportedly prepared to sign a convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea.

The agreement should resolve many of the issues surrounding the use of the Caspian Sea by the five countries. For more than two decades, these disputes have held up many important projects, notably energy export initiatives such as the proposed Trans-Caspian Pipeline from Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan that would ideally bring Turkmen gas to European markets.

This week’s Majlis podcast looks at what the agreement means for energy exports from the Caspian and the challenges ahead for the Caspian countries as they push forward with projects that had been put on hold while diplomats spent two decades hashing out the details of an agreement.

RFE/RL's media-relations manager, Muhammad Tahir, moderates the discussion.

From Washington, Theresa Sabonis-Helf, professor of national security strategy at the National War College, joins the talk. From Tbilisi, Giorgi Vashakmadze, the Georgian prime minister’s adviser for the East-West energy corridor, participates. And one of the leading authorities on Caspian energy politics, Robert Cutler, who is a senior research fellow at the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, takes part.

Majlis Podcast: The Ramifications Of A New Caspian Sea Accord
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About This Blog

Qishloq Ovozi is a blog by RFE/RL Central Asia specialist Bruce Pannier that aims to look at the events that are shaping Central Asia and its respective countries, connect some of the dots to shed light on why those processes are occurring, and identify the agents of change. Content will draw on the extensive knowledge and contacts of RFE/RL's Central Asian services but also allow scholars in the West, particularly younger scholars who will be tomorrow’s experts on the region, opportunities to share their views on the evolving situation at this Eurasian crossroad. The name means "Village Voice" in Uzbek. But don't be fooled, Qishloq Ovozi is about all of Central Asia.

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