Islamabad, July 7, IRNA-Pakistan and Iran on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to carry forward the talks process about the multi-billion Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project as well as import of Iranian gas for domestic consumption.
"I am hopeful that by the end of next April we will sign a final document," the Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zangeneh told a joint news conference with his Pakistani counterpart Amanullah Khan Jadoon.
The two ministers witnessed the signing of the MoU after two-day wide-ranging talks on energy cooperation.
"This is the first written document after years of talks. This is bilateral business and later we will have talk between Iran, Pakistan and India," the Iranian minister said.
"We have been holding meetings for 10 years. But now the dream turns into reality. The project, which had been only on papers now is on ground," the confidant Zangeneh said.
He said Pakistan and Iran are holding what he called as bilateral business on the project but "later we have talk between Iran, Pakistan and India".
He described signing of the MoU as a success, giving credit to his Pakistani counterpart and other senior officials.
The visiting Iranian official described his talks with President General Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz as fruitful and constructive.
"We have now an action plan for signing final contract for exporting gas to Pakistan and also laying a pipeline through Pakistan to India," Zangeneh said.
He described the project as a symbol of stability and peace and said the project will strengthen the brotherly relations and peaceful environment between the two countries and in the whole region.
Pakistan Petroleum Minister Amanullah Khan Jadoon said that Pakistan needs gas and Iran is willing to sell the gas.
"We are trying to proceed as fast as possible. This is also the wish of the President and the Prime Minister. Iran agreed to the proposal," he added.
Jadoon said that India has been invited to the talks process and that India has agreed to join the talks.
He said Secretary Petroleum Ahmed Waqar will proceed to India on July 11 for the meeting of the Pakistan-India Joint Working Group.
"We are hopeful that he would come up with concrete proposals from the Indian side," he said.
The minister said that Pakistan needs gas as by 2010 the country will be facing shortage of gas.
"We are planning for that shortage." Pakistan, he said, is holding bilateral meetings with both Iran and India.
"If India comes up we will start trilateral meeting," he added.
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