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India, Pakistan resolve issues on gas pipeline from Iran

New Delhi, June 25, IRNA - India and Pakistan Friday said they have resolved all bilateral commercial issues impeding implementation of the $ 7.4 billion gas pipeline from Iran and will jointly address Tehran's demand for price revision.

"I am happy to report that as far as Pakistan and India are concerned, we have resolved all bilateral issues. There is no issue whatsoever that needs to be addressed now," visiting Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told reporters after a brief meeting with Petroleum Minister Murli Deora.

India has been boycotting Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline talks since August 2007 over transit fee demanded by Pakistan for passage of gas through that country.

Differences between the two nations were narrowed at a meeting of oil ministers in Islamabad in April.

"Transit fee is a small issue. We have reached an agreement on the principles of charging transit fee. India remains fully committed to the project," Deora said.

Meanwhile, according to PTI, Oil Secretaries of the two countries will now meet, as early as July 1 in Madrid, to evolve a strategy to deal with Iran's insistence on a price revision clause in rates already agreed by the three nations. Both India and Pakistan are opposed to the new clause and plan to make a joint case at the trilateral meeting that may take place in Tehran next month.

Qureshi, who also holds additional charge of oil ministry, said that his country had no issues with India's demand that Iran hand over custody of gas at the India-Pakistan border and not at Iran-Pakistan border, as had been suggested by Tehran, to cut transit risk through Pakistan.

On security of the pipeline and the safe passage of gas, which has been the prime concern of New Delhi, he said "Pakistan will address the security issue and provide fool-proof security."

... Payvand News - 07/25/08 ... --

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