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Interview with Iranian deputy oil minister on "peace pipeline"

New Delhi, Dec 28, IRNA-Mohammad-Hadi Nejad Hosseinian, Iran's deputy oil minister for international affairs, is in India to discuss the proposed gas pipeline from Iran to India via Pakistan.

He spoke to IRNA prior to the third round of discussions of the Joint Working Group (JWG) which started Wednesday morning.

Heading the third round of the JWG meeting with India, he said he intends to discuss core issues like the pipeline's roadmap and infrastructure, gas pricing and preparation of an agreement or MoU to be finalized in the forthcoming meeting of the Joint Working Group scheduled in Tehran in February next year.

Nejad Hosseinian said that in the upcoming first-ever trilateral meeting of the oil ministers of Iran, India and Pakistan all issues that were discussed and decided upon in the bilateral JWG discussions will be brought up for a final decision.

Iran's deputy oil minister further explained that in today's bilateral JWG discussion, the focus of negotiation with the Indian negotiating partners would be the three most important issues -- pricing structure and the two proposals related to the pipeline project.

The first proposal, according to the Iranian deputy oil minister, suggests that each of the participating countries should take the responsibility for construction, operation, security and financing of the "peace" pipeline passing through its territory.

The second proposal, according to him, is for the parties to hand over the complete project to one or two international consortia that will be responsible for financial arrangements, investments, infrastructural issues, construction and operation of the 2700-kilometer "peace" pipeline.

Nejad Hosseinian, moreover, said that apart from those issues, factors that could influence fixing of the gas price will also be put into discussion.

The Iranian deputy oil minister, who along with a seven-member delegation from the oil ministry and Natural Iranian Gas Exporting Company (NIGEC), arrived in New Delhi yesterday morning.

Discussions, which began this morning with the Indian delegation led by S C Tripathi, secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, are expected to conclude on Thursday, December 29.

Both sides are optimistic about the outcome of the current JWG meeting and are looking forward to the forthcoming trilateral ministerial meeting to be held in February 2006 in Tehran.

New Delhi has said it seriously hopes to receive the first consignment of Iranian gas through this pipeline by the beginning of 2010.

... Payvand News - 12/28/05 ... --

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