Among the riverain " Arabs " some were found to supply labour for public works, and with the money thus obtained cattle were bought and farms started.
As the riverain powers could not come to an agreement on the subject, the great powers at the congress of Berlin (1878) entrusted to Austria-Hungary the execution of the works in question.
Of the same treaty it was anticipated that the European commission would have finished the works described within the period of two years, when it was to be dissolved and its powers taken over by a Riverain commission to be established under the same treaty; but this commission has never come into existence.
It was also decided that the European commission should no longer exercise any effective control over that portion of the Kilia branch of which the two banks belonged to one of the riverain powers (Russia and Rumania), while as regards that portion of it which separated the two countries, control was to be exercised by the Russian and Rumanian delegates on the European commission.
Except in the river valleys it is a poor territory, rough and mountainous towards the south, but subsiding into undulating wastes and pasture-lands towards the Turkman desert, and the Oxus riverain which is highly cultivated.