‘Pakistan keen to see Iran pipeline deal through’

June 30th, 2008 - 10:41 am ICT by IANS  

Dubai, June 30 (IANS) Pakistan is keen to see the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) oil pipeline project through and awaits India’s readiness to engage with Pakistan in this regard, according to Pakistan’s Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs Syed Naveed Qamar. “Pakistan is keen to move ahead (with the pipeline project) and I want to see whether India is ready to engage with us fully or it would like to spend some more time thinking about it,” Qamar told the Khaleej Times.

He was speaking after leading a high-level Pakistani delegation to the 17th session of the Pakistan-Iran Joint Economic Commission meeting which concluded Sunday.

According to the report, both Pakistan and Iran have agreed that all aspects of the project have been covered and a Gas Sales and Purchase Agreement (GSPA) between Iran and Pakistan has been finalized. The proposed $7.5-billion pipeline would run 2,615 km from Iran to India through Pakistan and initially carry 2,120 million cubic feet of gas a day.

The pipeline issue had came up for discussion during the course of a meeting between India’s Minister for Oil and Natural Gas Murli Deora and Iran’s Oil Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari in Jeddah last week.

Reiterating India’s commitment to the project in the course of the meeting, held on the sidelines of the Jeddah energy summit convened by Saudi Arabia to discuss spiraling global oil prices, Deora had briefed his Iranian counterpart about the meeting between India and Pakistan at Islamabad in April this year.

Deora told reporters that India was hopeful of signing the pipeline deal with Iran and Pakistan soon. He said that with Pakistan getting a new oil minister, India needed to discuss a few minor issues with its subcontinental neighbour.

Tehran is going to host a meeting next month with India and Pakistan on the project.

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