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China ready to join IPI gas project: report

Islamabad, Feb 11, IRNA - China has reportedly said it is ready to join Pakistan and Iran in their gas pipeline project if India did not join it, local media reported on Monday.

Pakistan plans to import 2.2 billion cubic feet of gas a day from Iran under the project, and has said it is willing to consume an additional 1.05 billion cubic feet if India did not join the project.

Business Recorder newspaper reported that China has told Pakistan it is interested in importing the additional gas if India did not join in. They said Iran had no objection to exporting gas to China.

In case China joined the project, the pipeline might pass through the northern Pakistani city of Gilgit, they said, where Pakistan has already approved a project to widen the Karakoram Highway.

Pakistan also plans to extend a railway track to China to connect it to the Gwadar port.

Chinese experts would visit Pakistan to finalise the route of the pipeline if it joined the project, they said.

Pakistan had invited India to negotiate the fee on February 7 and 8 but India said it would talk to an elected Pakistani government after the February 18 elections.

Iran and Pakistan may sign the agreement on February 24, a date proposed by Iran, they said.

Pakistan had earlier proposed the agreement be signed on January 25 in Abu Dhabi, but sources said Iran had told Pakistan it would only sign the agreement with an elected Pakistani government.

The Pakistani law ministry had vetted a draft of the Gas Sale and Purchase Agreement, they said, but it had not been signed because of differences between India and Pakistan over the transit fee for the pipeline.

... Payvand News - 02/11/08 ... --

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