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Thursday, 17 July 2008

India, Pakistan, Iran to meet in Tehran to push IPI project

ISLAMABAD: Iran, Pakistan and India are expected to hold a meeting in Tehran later this month to push the $ 7.4-billion IPI gas pipeline project that had been delayed after being caught in wrangling over transit fee.

India will be attending tripartite talks on the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline project, that has been opposed by the US due to Tehran's involvement, after a long time as it had stayed away from discussions while a caretaker government was in power in Pakistan late last year.

After the Pakistan People's Party-led government assumed office in March, Indian Petroleum Minister Murli Deora had travelled to Islamabad for talks on the IPI and Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline projects.

Ahead of the meeting in Tehran, Pakistan's Steering Committee on the pipeline project will meet here on July 17 to review the status of the gas transit fee to be paid by India for transporting Iranian gas across Pakistani territory.

Finance Secretary Farrukh Qayyum, Federal Board of Revenue Chiarman Abdullah Yousuf, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Salman Farooqui and Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir will attend the meeting, a senior petroleum ministry official told the Daily Times newspaper.

The Steering Committee earlier met on January two and approved the draft Gas Sales Purchase Agreement (GSPA) with Iran for the IPI project.

The Steering Committee is expected to review the draft GSPA and the financial impact of the IPI project on Pakistan's economy. The pipeline is expected to bring benefits worth two billion dollars for Pakistan's economy.

The official said Iran had invited Pakistan to attend the tripartite meeting in Tehran though the date for the meet had not yet been finalised. The date will be finalised after the meeting of the Steering Committee on July 17.

Thanks: ET

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