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. India-Iran-Pakistan Talks On Gas Pipeline Still To Continue

The pipeline project is opposed by the United States, which is striving to isolate Iran, but the sides have repeatedly stated their resolve to carry it through despite pressure from Washington.
by Staff Writers
New Delhi (RIA Novosti) Jun 30, 2007
India, Iran and Pakistan failed to reach a compromise on tariffs on natural gas deliveries and will continue talks on signing a tripartite gas pipeline agreement in July, the Indian press said citing government sources. Talks ended in New Delhi Friday on the $7.5 billion pipeline, which will have annual capacity of at least 21.1 billion cubic meters and is expected to come on stream in 2011.

According to the sources, the parties discussed Tehran's proposal to review the gas price once in three years to make it contingent on world prices. The proposal was quite a surprise for India as the previous agreement stipulated that the price remain unchanged for 25 years.

A government source said neither India nor Pakistan could abandon the project having provided huge investment in the pipe traversing Pakistan.

Iranian natural gas is highly important for India, whose rapidly developing economy needs steady supplies of fuels. Pakistan in its turn suffers electricity shortages.

The parties are optimistic about the talks, although they have only agreed on transit duty for gas pumped across Pakistan.

The pipeline project is opposed by the United States, which is striving to isolate Iran, but the sides have repeatedly stated their resolve to carry it through despite pressure from Washington.

Iran Invites India Pakistan Chiefs Of State To Sign Gas Deal
New Delhi (RIA Novosti) Jun 29 - Iran has invited Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to come to Tehran to sign a tripartite gas pipeline agreement. An agreement to build a gas pipeline from Iran to India across Pakistan could be signed in late July-early August, an Iranian oil ministry official said, adding that the three sides are currently in intensive negotiations to meet the deadline.

He said the project could be launched in 2001.

The sides previously coordinated gas transport tariffs, but have yet to agree on transit duty for gas pumped across Pakistan. According to informal reports, New Delhi is ready to pay about $90 million a year, while Islamabad is asking for $200 million.

The pipeline project is opposed by the United States, which is striving to isolate Iran, but the sides have repeatedly stated their resolve to carry it through despite pressure from Washington.

Source: RIA Novosti

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Brussels (AFP) Jun 29, 2007
The European Union aims to set up a strategic partnership with Africa to meet the continent's most important needs and match growing Chinese influence there, officials said Thursday. "We are looking for new, high-level relations. We want it to be a strategic partnership," Portugal's State Secretary for European Affairs, Manuel Lobo Antunes, told reporters.

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