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Pakistan frustrated with gas import options

Feb. 28, 2014 at 6:03 AM

ISLAMABAD, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Pakistan's former petroleum secretary expressed doubts about gas supplies from neighbors but the government said Iranian negotiations could bring relief.

Gulfraz Ahmad told delegates at an energy forum in Islamabad the U.S. government's nuclear energy assistance to India partly derailed a trilateral gas pipeline from Iran, the Pakistani newspaper Express Tribune reported Friday

"After withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, I fear Washington will again be opposing TAPI pipeline following a shift in its policies," he was quoted as saying.

TAPI refers to the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India natural gas pipeline, which the United States has backed in favor of the Iranian gas pipeline.

Foreign Office spokeswoman Tasnim Alsama was quoted by rival newspaper the Nation, however, as saying waning sanctions pressure on Iran could breathe new life into that pipeline option.

"We hope that the process [nuclear negotiations with Iran] would lead to successful settling of the Iranian nuclear issue and sanctions would be removed as a result," she was quoted as saying. "Then we can proceed ahead."

Iran agreed in November to a curb its nuclear enrichment activity for six months in exchange for modest sanctions relief. U.S. officials have said that doesn't mean Iran is open for business.

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