On Monday Russian and Kazakh Presidents Vladimir Putin and Nursultan Nazarbayev signed a document in the Kremlin that laid down the principles and legal basis for the collaboration between the two countries in the sphere of developing the resources of the Caspian Sea. The document stipulates "the geographical coordinates of the modified middle line that divides the bottom of the Northern Caspian between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Kazakhstan in order to exercise sovereign rights for its resources." Vladimir Putin said that Russia and Kazakhstan are fairly dividing the resources of the Northern Caspian. According to him, the deposits at the dividing line will be jointly developed. "We were acting in the interests of both states," said the President. Putin and Nazarbayev highly assessed the document signing. The full title of the document is "The protocol to the agreement between Russia and Kazakhstan on dividing the northern Caspian to exercise the sovereign rights to use resources, dated July 6, 1998." According to the Russian president, the signing of the protocol is a breakthrough in the Caspian cooperation. After the Ashkhabad meeting of the Presidents of five countries surrounding the Caspian Sea - Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Azerbaijan - Russia and Kazakhstan were the first to lay down legal principles of the Caspian division, stressed Putin. The principle of the division is "to divide the bottom but to leave the water common" which Russia hoped for. According to the Russian President, it is significant for the Moscow-Astana relations. It will positively affect our partners in Europe and North America. All the energy consumers will be interested in this. Nursultan Nazarbayev noted that Russia and Kazakhstan were the first to reach an agreement on the development of the Caspian resources which points to the fact that both countries are striving for strategic cooperation. Nazarbayev thinks that this document is the first of such scale that Russia and Kazakhstan ever signed as CIS countries. Russia and Kazakhstan are expected to sign two other important documents in late May - early June.
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