India and Pakistan Friday reiterated their commitment to a project to build a pipeline to transport gas from Iran, and said further talks would be held by the three countries in Islamabad and Tehran next month.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in a statement in Indian parliament that India remained committed to the project, and visiting Pakistani Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Amanullah Khan echoed similar sentiments later in the day.
"In fact all three countries involved in the project are committed to the pipeline project. There are, however, certain technical aspects still to be worked out," Indo-Asian News Service quoted Khan as saying.
Khan said though a lot of progress had been made during bilateral meetings among the three countries, efforts were still being made to cover all the outstanding technical, financial, legal and social issues.
The two countries said in a joint statement that a trilateral technical sub-group meeting would be held in Islamabad next month, and this would be followed by a trilateral meeting of officials in Tehran March 13-15.
After the first tripartite official meeting, "the ministers of the three countries will meet in Tehran in April to address outstanding issues," Indian Natural Gas and Petroleum Minister Deora said.
On the issue of pricing and project structure, the two main issues discussed during Friday's meeting, Khan said the international best practices would be used in determining the pricing of gas while technical experts of the three countries would firm up the project structure.
(Xinhua News Agency February 18, 2006)