Iran-Pak-India gas pipeline project negotiations in “final phase”

November 14th, 2007 - 2:35 am ICT by admin  
Officials from both sides will move as quickly as possible to start work on the project, the Dawn reported.

“We are satisfied with the progress as the two sides moved with utmost commitment,” an official source told Dawn after the third round of discussions.

Almost all aspects of the project have been taken care of but given the tedious legalities and politics, it cannot be called “a deal done until it is really done”, the source said.

An official said Pakistan could have a “much better deal” with Iran on gas pricing.

According to insiders, India was almost out of the project since it was not part of the negotiations, Pakistan, however, remains committed to providing safe transit for the pipeline to India.

Earlier this month, Iran dismissed as speculation that India had pulled out of the 7.4-billion-dollar IPI gas pipeline project, saying New Delhi was waiting for the restoration of political stability in Pakistan.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini said New Delhi had declared that expert delegations of the two countries would discuss the gas transit fee.

While proposing a ten-yearly revision, Pakistan told Iran that the agreement should be signed not later than December this year. The Iranian side promised to respond to the offer by the first week of next month, and agreed that the early signing of the agreement would be in the larger interests of both sides.

Under the trilateral contract, Iran will export 60 million cubic meters of gas to Pakistan and India each per day.

Ghanimi Fard, special representative on the gas project, led the Iranian side to the talks, while Secretary Petroleum Furrukh Qayum led the Pakistan team. (ANI)

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