Iran gas pipeline isn't dead

Nov. 15, 2011 at 10:06 AM
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- Islamabad has to pursue all natural gas pipeline options, including those with Iran, if it's to make up for an energy deficit, the foreign minister said.

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov arrived Monday in Islamabad to meet his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari. Both sides during their meeting focused on expanding trade relationships and hastening the development of the Western-backed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India natural gas pipeline.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar was quoted by Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency as saying that doesn't mean Islamabad is giving up on an Iranian pipeline, however.

"We are energy deficient and we are pro-actively pursuing access to gas which includes the Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline," she was quoted as saying.

Washington and the Asia Development Bank have thrown their support behind the TAPI project. Lingering conflict in Afghanistan, however, remains a concern for all parties involved.

Tehran claims to have most of its part of the pipeline from the giant South Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf completed. The project, however, has been stuck in various stages of negotiation since its inception as the so-called Peace Pipeline in the 1990s.

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