Iran, Pakistan vow to maintain pipeline dialogue momentum

January 25, 2006 - 0:0
ISLAMABAD (Xinhuanet) – Pakistan and Iran on Tuesday concluded two-day talks on the multi-billion-dollar gas pipeline in Islamabad with a note of satisfaction, said a joint statement.

"Both sides re-affirmed to address the various issues pertaining to the project to maintain the momentum of the dialogue process," it said.

"The discussions between the two delegations were held in an atmosphere of cordiality and mutual understanding. The deliberations focused on all important technical, financial and commercial issues related to the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) project," the statement said.

The Iranian delegation in the fifth meeting of the Iran-Pakistan Working Group on IPI was led by Nejad-Hosseinian, Deputy Petroleum Minister of Iran, while the Pakistani delegation was led by Ahmad Waqar, Secretary Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources.

Both sides noted with satisfaction that negotiations at the bilateral working group level between Pakistan and Iran provided a mechanism to make progress on all related aspects of the projects so that substantive and concrete progress could be achieved, according to the statement.

They discussed project structure, framework agreement, principles of gas pricing mechanism, feasibility study and gas sales and purchase agreement.

Both sides agreed that a bilateral joint working group meeting would be held in Tehran in March which will be followed by tri-partite meetings at the joint working group level.

The two sides also agreed to hold a ministerial meeting in April in Tehran.

The Iranian delegation also called on Amanullah Khan Jadoon, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources, who conveyed the firm support of the government of Pakistan to the IPI, and urged the two delegations to pursue their discussions in a constructive manner and according to the timeframe set in the MOU of July 2005 to ensure commencement of the project by 2007.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has already declared its support for the 2,600-kilometer pipeline that will cost more than seven billion U.S. dollars.