The intention to reach an agreement on the issue and enhance cooperation in the Caspian Sea, demonstrated at the recent summit in Baku, could resolve the problem of transportation of Caspian energy resources into the waters of the Persian Gulf.
The recent summit of Russian, Azerbaijani and Iranian leaders in Baku will lead to greater cooperation in energy, security and regional issues, as the sides forward with the North-South corridor promoted by India, Jahangir Karami, Associate Professor of International Relations at the University of Tehran, told valdaiclub.com
What do you believe is the future of the North-South corridor between the countries, were any decisions made on it?
There are some measures which can boost economic relations between Tehran and Moscow and Baku and, as a result, increase the three countries’ economic interdependence as a basis for expanded political and security relations - making the North-South Corridor operational; creating a railroad corridor for rapid transfer; providing software, legal and regulatory foundations for trade cooperation. The North-South Corridor project laid a basis for cooperation between regional countries to achieve the goal of regional development. This transportation route links India to Europe via a safer and shorter path and a very important one for Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia. According to a draft declaration which was approved by the leaders of the three countries, the sides have agreed to take effective measures to develop the existing infrastructure of transport - with the scope of consolidation opportunities in the transportation of goods and passengers along the international transport corridor "North - South". The three presidents also pledged to take effective measures to develop transportation and communication infrastructure in order to expand the opportunities for passenger and cargo transportation via the North-South corridor.
How important was the topic of the Caspian Sea during the talks?
The leaders of the three countries will intensify their cooperation in the energy field. The meeting could be viewed as the first step toward a resolution of the problem with regard to transportation of energy resources produced in the Caspian Sea. The intention to reach an agreement on the issue and enhance cooperation in the Caspian Sea, demonstrated at the recent summit in Baku, could resolve the problem of transportation of Caspian energy resources into the waters of the Persian Gulf. Since in the coming months summit of the Caspian countries is to be held in Kazakhstan, leaders of the three countries emphasized the adoption of the legal regime of the Caspian Sea can be a huge help to make decisions. In the final common statement approved by the leaders of the three countries, the sides emphasized that the Caspian Sea was the sea of peace, friendship, security and cooperation, and called to the necessity of the rapid adoption of the Convention on Caspian legal regime. Foreign Ministers were instructed to intensify efforts for the preparation for the Fifth Caspian summit. The new format will have a positive impact on regional processes.
What do you believe are the prospects for Moscow-Baku-Tehran cooperation, and how could it impact the situation in the Karabakh?
The role of regional countries, especially Iran and Russia, is very important and this partnership can provide the right perspective to help solve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. In the final statement of the meeting, the participants stressed that the three countries have also recognized that the unresolved conflicts in the region are a major obstacle to regional cooperation, and underlined the importance of their settlement on the basis of principles and norms of international law.
How important were the issues of regional security, terrorism and energy security at the meeting?
I think the South Caucasus countries together with Iran, Russia and Turkey have a common foundation for regional cooperation. The Baku summit is an important step for this purpose. This summit showed that the three sides are ready to develop mutually beneficial cooperation, the political dialogue at various levels and on all issues of mutual interest. The leaders expressed their willingness to combat terrorism, extremism, transnational organized crime, illicit trafficking in arms, drugs, as well as human trafficking and crimes in the sphere of information and communication technologies. President Rouhani, referring to Iran’s role in contributing to regional peace and development said, “Today, all countries in the world acknowledge that Iran’s role in the establishment of the security of the region is positive, effective and significant.”