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Pakistan says no pressure on Iran gas pipeline project
www.chinaview.cn 2006-01-07 00:35:15

   ISLAMABAD, Jan. 6 (Xinhuanet) -- Pakistan said on Friday that it was not under pressure over the multi-billion Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, claiming that the project was intact.

   Pakistan's statement came a day after the United States said that it was "absolutely opposed" to the project, even if it is seen as feasible by an Asian Development Bank (ADB).

   "We are not under any kind of pressure and we have to meet our energy requirements", Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Tasneem Aslam told a private television channel.

   Iran, Pakistan and India have made substantial progress in talks to push the 2,600-kilometer pipeline, that will cost more than 7 billion U.S. dollars.

   "Pakistan is in dire need of energy for its growing economy and Pak-Iran-India gas pipeline program is intact," Aslam said.

   The spokesperson said that Pakistan was pursuing different options to meet its energy requirements and Pak-Iran-India gas pipeline is one of them.

   She said that Pakistan and India discussed the project last month, which was followed by a meeting between India and Iran.

   A tripartite meeting will also be held and preparations are being made for the first ever tripartite meeting, she said, adding the three sides are discussing technical details to move the process ahead. The meeting is likely to be held in February in Tehran.

   "If the parties succeed in reaching a consensus on technical details before the tripartite meeting, a final decision about the project can possibly emerge in that meeting," Aslam said.

   Pakistan is also holding talks to get gas from Turkmenistan via Afghanistan as well as Qatar, which has also been declared as feasible viable and competitive by the ADB.

   Iran, Pakistan and India are hopeful to start construction of the pipeline in 2007 and the project is likely to be operational by 2011. Enditem

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