Publishe Date: 8:31 PM - 9/12/2012 | Print

Russia Keen to Finance Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline Project

Economy - Moscow announced that it is ready to finance construction of the Pakistani side of a multi-billion-dollar pipeline project, which is due to take Iran's rich gas reserves to the energy hungry Pakistan.

Defying intense pressure from the United States, Pakistan and Russia on Monday agreed to cooperate in the pipeline project.

During a meeting of the inter-governmental joint commission, officials of the two countries discussed the possibility of Russia's participation in the multibillion dollar gas pipeline project, Pakistani official sources said on Monday. The meeting was part of an initiative by both countries to forge a better working relationship and open a new chapter of cooperation.

The Russian offer comes in spite of the mounting pressure from the US, which is keen on imposing sanctions on countries intending to cut business deals with Iran.

A statement issued after the meeting by Russia's deputy energy minister and representatives of Gazprom International and Inter RAO revealed details of intended fields of cooperation.

"The two sides are exploring different options and Russia is keen to become a part of the Iran gas project at the government level, instead of taking part through international competitive bidding," a government official told the Express Tribune.

The Russian delegation, headed by the federation's Minister for Sports Vitaly Mutko, also called on Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari who welcomed Moscow's interest in financing the project.

"Pakistan welcomes a greater role for Russia in regional and global affairs," said the head of state in an official statement that is likely to irk Washington. Pakistan considers Russia's "growing power as a positive feature" in the present-day multi-polar world. The president maintained that being important players in the region, Pakistan and Russia need to further strengthen their ties and increase contact between functionaries of both states.
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