Caspian countries reaffirm their pledge to keep foreign troops out

Ashgabat, Turkmenistan (AP) —Russian President Vladimir Putin and leaders of the other four countries along the Caspian Sea reaffirmed their common commitment to keep foreign troops away from the region on Wednesday.

The Presidents of Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan held a summit meeting in Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan, to discuss regional cooperation and international affairs.

In a post-meeting communiqué, they emphasized that they agreed to ban foreign troops from the Caspian Sea. They also emphasized their pledge not to provide their territory for invasion of other coastal states.

The communiqué also emphasized the importance of cooperation in the military field between Caspian countries.

In 2018, five countries signed a treaty on the development of Caspian Sea resources that has ended decades of uncertainty.

For Putin, Wednesday’s visit to Ashgabat was part of his first overseas trip since Moscow began its invasion of Ukraine on February 24. Putin visited Tajikistan, a former Soviet state, the day before.

At the summit on Wednesday, NATO pledged to hold its own summit in Madrid, proclaiming Russia as the “most important and direct threat” to the peace and security of its member states, and strengthening its support for Ukraine. It was done at that time.

Putin and other leaders did not mention the fighting in Ukraine in their public comments at the summit.