Pakistan, Iran inch closer to finalise IPI gas agreement


Islamabad : Pakistan and Iran are close to finalising a gas purchase agreement for the USD 7.4 billion IPI pipeline during technical talks here, even as officials said India’s decision not to take part in the talks did not mean it had pulled out of the trilateral project.

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The three-day technical talks between senior Pakistani and Iranian officials will conclude today and will be followed by secretary-level talks tomorrow.

“After the technical-level talks, the secretary-level talks will also be held in Islamabad as the dialogue process between the two sides seems to be going in the right direction. And the gas sale-purchase agreement is expected to be signed after the secretary-level talks,” an unnamed official of Pakistan’s petroleum ministry was quoted as saying by ‘The Post’.

Shabbier Ahmed, the deputy secretary in the petroleum ministry, told: “The last unresolved subject of price review that was proposed by Iran three years ago is also under discussion.

“Hopefully, all the obstacles will be resolved during the final round of technical level talks between two countries today,” Ahmed said.

India’s decision not to participate in the talks here did not mean it had pulled out of the project, unnamed officials were quoted as saying by the Daily Times. They said Pakistan and India had “to settle issues concerning the agreement on their own terms”.

“It is a trilateral project and we are trying to advance it between the three countries,” a petroleum ministry official said.