Islamabad asks Iran to build Pakistani side of gas pipeline

5258a06274503Pakistan asked Iran to construct the Pakistani side of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline as well, said an official statement.
Pakistani Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who conveyed this message to his Iranian counterpart Ali Tayyebnia at a meeting in Washington, also urged him to help remove the restrictions that prevented better trade ties between the two countries.

Dar asked the Iranian finance minister to “look into the possibility of constructing the IP pipeline on the Pakistani side as well”, said a statement issued on Friday by the Pakistani Embassy, Washington, Dawn reported.

“Both sides agreed to explore financing options within the sanctions imposed on Iran,” the statement said.

On Tuesday, Pakistani Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that Pakistan had asked Iran for $2bln in financing to build its side of the gas pipeline.

The Iranian side of the $7.5bln project is almost complete, but Pakistan has run into repeated problems in paying for the 780-kilometre section to be built on its side of the border.

“All these issues will be discussed in a meeting which we have requested, but so far there is no reply from the Iranian side,” Abbasi told AFP.
“They were busy in cabinet formation and I hope that this meeting will take place within this month.”

There were media reports on Friday that the visit of Minister for Pakistan’s Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to Iran has been delayed due to unknown reasons. Official sources told Business Recorder that the Minister was to visit Iran before Eid-ul-Azha to discuss technical and financial issues related to the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project.

Dar, who met the Iranian minister on the sidelines of the annual World Bank and IMF meetings in Washington, also discussed with him options for going around the West’s sanctions on Iran for promoting bilateral trade.

Iran and Pakistan officially inaugurated the construction phase of a gas pipeline project in March which is due to take Iran’s rich gas reserves to the energy-hungry South Asian nation.

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