US opposes Pakistan-Iran pipeline

Jan 09, 2005 01:00 AM

A former Pakistani Minister has said the US opposes the Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline project. Former Oil and Gas Minister Usman Aminuddin said that Washington has asked Pakistani officials not to approve the gas pipeline project with Iran.
He said the US was pressuring Pakistan to import gas from Qatar instead of Iran. However, the gas pipeline from Qatar was too costly for Pakistan, he said. In late December, Islamabad reiterated that it would be able to ensure safe supply of natural gas to New Delhi from Iran, stressing, however, that it would go ahead with the project with or without India.

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri told visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi that if India refuses to join, the multibillion-dollar project would be implemented between Iran and Pakistan.
Islamabad has been keen on the proposed $ 4 bn pipeline for years but India has been lukewarm given their troubled relations and concerns about security in Pakistan. India began showinginterest as its relationship with Pakistan warmed in recent months.

Kharrazi said in a meeting with his Pakistani opposite number that the project could help strengthen regional cooperation to a great extent. He said Iran believes that time has come for the start of talks on technical and executive issues.
For his part, Kasuri called for early implementation of the project.
"Pakistan needs the gas pipeline with Iran anyway due to its very high growth rate and in view of an even higher growth expected in future," an official statement quoted Pakistani foreign minister as saying. Pakistan would welcome India joining the project while assuring it of security of supplies through Pakistani territory."

Source: IranMania
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