Pakistan, Iran likely to conclude IPI deal in July

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Dubai, Jun 30: A trilateral meeting among the Petroleum Minister's of India, Pakistan and Iran is likely to take place in July in Tehran in order to finalise the proposed 7.4 billion dollar Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project.

''Iran would soon invite the Petroleum Ministers of India and Pakistan to conclude a deal on the seven billion dollar gas pipeline project in July,'' a top Pakistani official was quoted as saying by Khaleej Times. In a recent series of meeting, Pakistan's Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs Syed Naveed Qamar met Iran's Minister for Petroleum Gholam Hossein Nozari on Saturday, June 28 and discussed the proposed pipeline project. The Ministers also exchanged views to further boost cooperation in petroleum sector of the two countries.

Mr Naveed Qamar was in Teheran to head a high-level delegation to attend the 17th session of Pak-Iran Joint Economic Commission, which concluded on Sunday, June 29.

The two sides already agreed that the experts had covered all aspects of the project and that Gas Sales and Purchase Agreement (GSPA) between Iran and Pakistan was now finalised and that it was time to move ahead.

India and Pakistan need natural gas from Iran to overcome energy shortages in order to maintain their economic growth. Both countries are resisting US pressure to end talks on multi-billion dollar pipeline project, which they want to build by December 2012.

The proposed pipeline would run 2,615 kilometres from Iran to India through Pakistan and initially carry 2,120 million cubic feet of gas a day.

''Pakistan is keen to move ahead 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, Mr Qureshi said.

According to an official handout, the Pakistan's Finance Minister and Iran's Minister for Petroleum Gholam Hossein Nozari discussed matters relating to the promotion of bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

The Iranian Minister for Petroleum said the visit of the Federal Minister for Finance of Pakistan would go a long way in promoting bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the fields of commerce, trade and energy.

Mr Qamar praised bilateral relations between the two countries, which were rooted in common history, culture and religion.

Ambassador of Pakistan, Shafkat Saeed, and senior officials from Iran and Pakistan were also present during the meeting.

UNI

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