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No US pressure on Iran gas pipeline: Pakistan

Islamabad, Jan 3, IRNA - Pakistan said on Monday that there is no pressure by the US government on the country about the plan to get gas from neighboring Iran.

"We have no pressure from the US and other countries on the gas pipeline and the two countries are holding good consultations to sort out technical issues," Foreign Office Spokesman Masood Khan said.

He was replying to a question at a weekly press briefing when his attention was drawn to a report in a US paper that Washington exerting pressure on Pakistan not to take gas from Iran.

"No pressure, no pressure," Khan said in definite terms adding, there is no political pressure on Pakistan in regard to the gas pipeline.

He said the two countries are discussing technical, infrastructure, financial aspects as well as cost and feasibility of the project.

The spokesman said the project will benefit Pakistan, Iran and India as well as the entire region but said India is going through "cost and benefit" analyses "that will help them make their mind".

"We are examining all aspects and India has to calculate losses and gains and to come up with own conclusion," Khan said.

He referred to the recent meeting of the experts of the two countries in Tehran.

The comments came two days before the arrival of Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, who will be here on Wednesday for talks on bilateral cooperation.

He will meet his Pakistani counterpart, Amanullah Khan Jadoon on the gas pipeline.

A four-member delegation of Pakistan's Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources held talks last week in Tehran on the proposed pipeline project between the two countries.

The team led by Secretary Ahmed Waqar reviewed with Iranian officials the progress so far made on the gas pipeline project.

Zanganeh's visit is regarded as continuation of the on-going discussions between the two countries to finalize a formal agreement on a bilateral pipeline laying.

His talks will take place prior to the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz to Iran to preside over the joint ministerial commission meeting. besides Iran gas pipeline project, Pakistan is weighing two less-practical options of importing gas from Turkmenistan and Qatar.

Iran-Pak gas pipeline to boost economy: Pak expert

Islamabad, Jan 3, IRNA - A Pakistani analyst on Monday urged Iran and Pakistan to expedite modalities on realization of the proposed gas pipeline.

Talking to IRNA here, the Executive Director of Institute of Policy Studies Khalid Rehman said that both sides should gear up to get the project realized for common good of either side.

He welcomed the upcoming visit of Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, saying it will help both sides to make progress towards signing a formal agreement on the project.

Iranian minister is arriving here on Wednesday to hold talks with Pakistani authorities on the project and other matters of mutual interest. He, afterwards, leaves for New Delhi.

Rehman was hopeful that Iranian side would take due care of Pakistan's queries about the starting point of the gas pipeline and gas tariff.

When asked for comments on other two options Pakistan was considering, he said that economically as well as from geographical point of view, it would be feasible for Pakistan to opt for Iran's offer, taking into consideration all relevant aspects.

The idea of laying a tripartite pipeline surfaced in the mid-90s, however, mainly due to Pakistan-India tensions, no significant progress could be made on building the project.

However, last year, Iran and Pakistan discussed the option of laying the pipeline from Iran to Pakistan and later on, extend it up to India, if the latter agrees on it.

The expert was of the view that keeping in mind Pakistan's rapidly growing energy needs and the demand of fort, the sooner a decision is taken the better it will be.

During Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz's visit upcoming to Iran reportedly in February, the proposed project would come up for discussion and some breakthrough was expected as reports here suggest.

... Payvand News - 1/3/05 ... --

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