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13

Iran to remove India's concern about gas pipeline: Pak minister

Pakistan's Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Usman Aminuddin...

Pakistan's Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Usman Aminuddin, while reiterating Pakistan's
support for the Iran-India gas pipeline, on Sunday said that Iran
had to remove India's concerns about the proposed project.
"We have provided full guarantee to the government of Iran. We
said that whatever concern India has, we will address it," he said in
an interview with IRNA.
"We have no interaction with India, the interaction today is
taking place between Iran and India and Iran and Pakistan," he said.
"We have responded to the request of our brothers in Iran to allow
the pipeline to go through Pakistan. We have not received any request
from India," he asserted.
"We have responded to your (Iran's) request because you are
involved. We will provide all security whatever the security is
needed," he emphatically said.
"Pakistan, at present, does not want gas. We have sufficient gas
for 10 years and there are many undiscovered gas reserves in Pakistan.
We have allowed the transit of gas through Pakistani territory," he
said.
"Iran is the seller, India is the buyer, Pakistan is only a
transit country," Usman Aminuddin further said.
Asked about India's security concerns regarding the project, the
Pakistani minister said: "We do not know what the security concerns
are. Once we know what these concerns are, we will address them."
"What is the problem," he asked when told that India had some
reservations regarding the security provided by Pakistan and that
Islamabad had taken a different position with regard to this project
as compared to its other similar projects with India.
"We have no different position. We have responded to the request
of our brothers in Iran," he said.
"We believe that political and economic issues are interlinked if
they are straight going between the two countries (Pakistan, India),"
the minister added.
He said if the Russian gas pipelines could be passed through
Europe at the height of the Cold War, why this important regional
pipeline could not pass to India through Pakistan.
To a question, he said Pakistan was supporting all the three
proposed gas pipelines; from Qatar, Iran and Central Asia to the
Subcontinent.
"But the ultimate end for all these pipelines is India -- and we
have supported them," he maintained.
"We support every kind of regional trade -- as a message of peace
and message of regional development. But Pakistan is a transit
country," Usman elaborated.
Asked if Pakistan would extend the oil import agreement with Iran
which ends in coming June, he replied in affirmative.
"We will be negotiating the contract upon the expiry of the
agreement and request Iran to, also provide us diesel and buy surplus
motor gasoline from Pakistan," he said.
About the Pak-Iran Oil Refinery, he said an Iranian delegation was
scheduled to arrive in Islamabad on May 23 for discussing the project.
He hoped that this project, `viable for both countries' would be
materialized for the benefit of both Iran and Pakistan.
He said oil smuggling was also damaging economy of Iran and
Pakistan and both sides would try to address this issue.

irna.com