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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Iran's Offer For Building Gas Pipeline In Pakistan Should Not Be Ignored








Iran on Tuesday offered Pakistan assistance in building the much-awaited gas pipeline, as the two countries resolved to enhance the volume of the bilateral trade from $1.5 billion to $5 billion by exploring new avenues of economic cooperation.The offer to build the Pakistani portion of the Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline project was made by the visiting Iranian Vice-President on International Affairs Ali Saeedlou during meetings with President Asif Ali Zardari and Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh.The two countries also signed three memorandums of understanding (MoUs) to promote cooperation in the economic sector.The latest development gained more importance, as President Zardari, while setting aside the US pressure, made it clear that Pakistan was committed for early implementation of Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline to meet the ever-growing energy demand in the country. During a meeting with Ali Saeedlou at the Presidency, Zardari proposed elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers between the two countries to further boost trade ties and realise the true business and trade potential.The president said enhanced cooperation in energy, security, communication and infrastructure would help the two countries to materialise the goal of raising the bilateral trade to $5 billion.He said Pakistan and Iran were poised to play an important role in the promotion of intra and inter-regional connectivity, which was the key to the socio-economic development of the people.He expressed readiness to grant multiple entry visas to the businessmen from Iran on a reciprocal basis, adding that Pakistan also wanted to carry forward the proposed projects of 1000 MW Taftan-Quetta power transmission line and the 100 MW power supply to Gwadar.The Iranian vice-president said his country was ready to help building the part of the gas pipeline project in Pakistan.President Zardari said it was the high time for the regional countries to work together and protect the people from the threat posed by extremists and militant mindset.He said Pakistan was looking forward to welcome President Ahmadinejad for the Third Pakistan-Iran-Afghanistan Trilateral Summit and expressed the hope that the forthcoming moot would prove to be an important milestone towards achieving the goal of peace, stability and reconciliation in Afghanistan.Earlier, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and Ali Saeedlou agreed to speed up work on various ongoing projects, particularly the gas pipeline and electricity transmission lines, to help Pakistan overcome the energy crisis.Talking to newsmen after holding talks, Hafeez Shaikh said several areas of cooperation, including information technology and industrial development, had been identified as a priority.
He said the two sides agreed to promote trade in commodities, including rice, fruits and vegetables besides cooperation in sectors like livestock, transportation, customs and financial sectors.Iran and Pakistan also signed three Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) to promote cooperation in economic sector. The MoUs were signed by Ali Seedlou and Hafeez Shaikh at the conclusion of bilateral consultations.Shaikh said the MoUs related to timely completion of Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline project, import of electricity from Iran and encouraging private sector of the two countries.Shaikh added that President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani were committed to bringing Iran and Pakistan together.Iranian Vice-President Ali Seedlou stressed the need for enhancing the cooperation between Iran and Pakistan in the fields of economy and development.On the upcoming visit of Iranian President Ahmadinejad, he said Tehran had no restrictions for expansion of ties with Islamabad.Talking about the gas pipeline, he said, “The project will bring prosperity in the region and would further strengthen Iran-Pakistan ties.”He said Iran had extended 100-million-dollar assistance to Pakistan’s flood-stricken people and is ready to start more projects for the welfare of the Pakistani people.

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