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Iranian FM: Iran-India gas project finalized

Tehran, Sept 3, IRNA-Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki in a meeting with his Indian counterpart Natwar Singh in Tehran on Saturday announced that the project on transfer of gas from Iran to India via Pakistan has been finalized and various committees are now working on its executive strategies.

Speaking to reporters after the first round of his talks with Singh, he added that during the meeting the tripartite gathering of the oil ministers of Iran, Pakistan and India before the end of the current year was underlined.

Mottaki and Singh attended a press conference after the meeting and responded to the questions raised by reporters.

"During the first round of talks, the issues on the agenda were reviewed and strategic collaboration between the two countries, major joint projects and cooperation in other domains including trade were discussed," added Mottaki.

Expressing satisfaction with the execution trend of the provisions of the documents inked between the two sides, he stated that agreement was mutually reached on expediting the process of the gas pipeline project by eliminating any bureaucracy.

He added that during the meeting it was agreed to hold Iran-India Economic Commission meeting in the first half of March 2006.

For his part, Singh elaborated on a question raised on the Indian government's opinion about the report released by the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Iran's nuclear activities and said, "I have not yet discussed the issue with Mottaki, since the issue will be on the agenda of the next round of our meeting."

He put the value of the trade exchange between the two countries at four billion dollars and assessed the mutual economic relations as satisfactory.

Singh noted that during the meeting it was decided to hold the joint economic commission meeting in early March 2006.

"The gas pipeline project was discussed in today's meeting and agreement was reached about appointing a consulting company. I hope that during the tripartite oil and energy ministers meeting in November the issue will be finalized," he added.

Singh arrived in Tehran Friday at the head of a high-ranking political delegation to meet with Iranian officials.

During his three-day visit, he is scheduled to meet with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Majlis Speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel. On the last day of his stay in Iran, he will tour the historical city of Shiraz in the southern Fars province.

The annual trade exchange between the two countries exceeds three billion dollars and given the affordable potentials, the figure is predicted to rise.

India is expected to annually import five million tons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Iran from 2009. Meanwhile, preliminary negotiations on Iran-Pakistan-India tripartite gas ipeline project has already been conducted. Implementation of the project will be put on the agenda of tripartite talks from 1385.

Establishment of north-south transit corridor network through Iran-India-Russia's initiative is another regional project which is on the agenda of Iran-India negotiations.

As two major regional powers, Iran and India share common views quite similar to each other about reconstruction of Afghanistan, establishment of legal structures in Iraq, Middle East developments and dismissal of unilateral policies.

... Payvand News - 9/3/05 ... --

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