Iranian, Pakistan to hold talks over gas pipeline project

TEHRAN, May 13 (MNA) – A delegation from Tehran will visit Islamabad soon to discuss the stalled multibillion-dollar Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, an official said.

Interstate Gas Company Managing Director Mobin Saulat said that the delegation will visit Islamabad by early June, however, “the final date will be decided after receiving a reply from Iran,” Pakistani daily, the Express Tribune reported on Monday.

“The talks will be held on a technical level,” the official said, adding that Pakistan had signed the pipeline agreement with Iran and wanted the project to be completed.

Earlier, Pakistan’s petroleum ministry informed Iran that it was bound to execute the project but that was only possible after the unilateral sanctions imposed by the US on Tehran were lifted.

The ministry wrote to Iran in response to Tehran giving a notice to Islamabad in February this year that it would take the case to the International Court of Justice over Pakistan’s failure to lay down the pipeline in Pakistani territory in the timeframe stipulated in the bilateral agreement.

Saulat said Pakistan had up till August this year to legally respond to Iran’s notice and settle the issue through negotiations.

Pakistan and Iran signed the agreement in 2009 and the project had to be completed by December 2014.

For years, the two neighbors have been struggling to complete the gas pipeline to help resolve Pakistan’s mounting electricity problems.

The Iran-Pakistan pipeline project - also called Peace Pipeline - is a 1,957 kilometer pipeline that will deliver natural gas from Iran’s South Pars fields to Pakistan's two major cities -- Karachi and Multan.

Tehran has fulfilled its commitment regarding the construction of the gas pipeline inside Iranian territory (1,172km pipeline from Asalouyeh to the joint border) and is waiting for Islamabad to do its share and complete the 785km on its territory.

However, Pakistan has halted the project citing sanctions imposed on Iran. This is while the country needs Iran gas to feed its power plants and help improve its power sector that is in an eternal state of crisis.

MR/IRN83312547/PR

News Code 145213

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