ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, June 28 (UPI) -- The Russian government said it was ready to help finance a natural gas pipeline from Iran to Pakistan.
A minister-level working group of Russian delegates took part in meetings in Pakistan. Russian officials agreed to help fund the Iranian gas pipeline to Pakistan and to present a draft agreement for assistance by early July, the Pakistani newspaper Daily Times reports.
Iran says it started work on the pipeline up to the Pakistani border. The Iranian government, the Pakistani media report stated, said it would provide $250 million to help fund project. Pakistan needs around $500 to help finance the pipeline.
Moscow, the report said, also expressed interest in the planned Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India natural gas pipeline, considered a rival to the Iranian plans.
Western governments and the Asian Development Bank have lined up behind TAPI as an expression of opposition to the Iranian pipeline. Security in Afghanistan, however, could complicate the Western-backed project.
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