US pressure can’t sway Pakistan from Iran gas pipeline project: Pakistani official

Pakistan officials say the county is determined to go ahead with the Iran gas pipeline project at all cost and will not drop the project under US pressure ,Press TVreports.

Pakistani adviser on foreign affairs and national security Sartaj Aziz gave a non-paper to US Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday during his two-day visit to the South Asian country to highlight the importance of the project to Islamabad, the Press TV correspondent in Islamabad reported on Saturday.

Aide-mémoire, also known as a non-paper, is a proposed agreement or an informal diplomatic message circulated among delegations.

Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said on Friday that Pakistan briefed the US secretary of state about the gas project.

Chaudhry said the project meant to address the energy requirement of the country and that the stance of Pakistan was conveyed to the US in the form of a non-paper.

The rationale for giving the non-paper to the US side was to convey Pakistan’s perspective, with particular reference to whether or not this project would attract US sanctions, the spokesman added.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari officially inaugurated the final construction phase of the project on March 11, 2013. Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi also attended the ceremony.

The gas pipeline seems crucial for Pakistan in order to meet its growing energy demands.

“Pakistan’s gas reservoirs are declining very fast and if we do not construct this pipeline it would result in a major problem for the country. The economy would be adversely affected, and Pakistan will not be able to make progress,” Tariq Peerzada, a security analyst in Islamabad, told Press TV.

The government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has already made it clear that addressing the country’s longstanding energy problem will be its top priority.

The United States has long been threatening Pakistan to impose economic sanctions if Islamabad goes ahead with the gas pipeline project. But the Sharif government has no plans to reverse the decision.

The 2,000-kilometer pipeline, which is projected to cost 1.2 to 1.5 billion, dollars, would enable the export of 21.5 million cubic meters of Iranian natural gas per day to Pakistan.

Iran has already constructed more than 900 kilometers of the pipeline on its territory.

By Press TV


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