Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said the five Caspian states have agreed on "all the outstanding key issues" regarding the legal status of the Caspian Sea.
Lavrov made the announcement in Moscow on December 5 after meeting with his counterparts from Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan.
Russia's top diplomat said the draft text of the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea was "practically ready" to be signed by the presidents of the Caspian states at their summit in Kazakhstan next year.
Meanwhile, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said that there is "a need for maximum efforts to reach a consensus" on all remaining issues before the summit.
The foreign ministers did not say what the remaining sticking points were.
The Caspian Sea is the largest inland body of water in the world, with huge hydrocarbon resources.
Its legal regime has been under discussion since 1991, when Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan gained independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union,
If the Caspian is legally declared a sea, all five littoral countries would map out their territorial waters and exploit the resources as they see fit.
If it is designated as a lake, all the resources of the Caspian, and profits from those resources, would be split equally among the five countries.