Pakistan invites Srinivasan to discuss IPI project

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Islamabad, Oct 23 (UNI) Pakistan has invited India for talks to resolve issue of transit fee of the Iran, Pakistan, India (IPI) gas pipeline project.

Pakistani petroleum secretary Farrakh Qayyum has written a letter to his Indian counterpart M S Srinivasan, inviting him for bilateral dialogue, a senior official told UNI.

He has proposed that the talks can be held next month preferrably during the first fortnight.

The project seems to be in doldrums because Pakistan and Iran are also still far from agreement on the pricing of a gas import plan.

Officials of the two countries, who met in Islamabad early this week also concluded without making any headway.

Pakistan would have a ''much better deal'' with Iran on gas pricing because of cordial relations with it than with other competitors. Iran had the second largest reserves and many countries, like Armenia, UAE and Switzerland were vying for its gas, local media reports had earlier quoted an official as saying.

Pakistan has been reluctant to accept Iran's demand for price revision every three or five years and proposed a ten-yearly revision, adding that the agreement should be signed not later than December this year.

The two sides had already agreed to the basic principle of gas price linkage with international market as measured by the Japanese Crude Cocktail (JCC), sources said.

Tehran has promised to respond to the offer by the first week of next month and agreed that early signing of the deal would be in the larger interest of both sides.

UNI

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