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Trilateral meet on gas pipeline in July

Petroleum Minister Murli Deora meets his Iranian counterpart and agrees for a trilateral meet to finalise the gas pipeline project details.

business Updated: Jun 23, 2008 14:04 IST

India, Pakistan and Iran are next month likely to hold their first trilateral meeting in a year to finalise details of the $7.4 billion tri-nation gas pipeline project.

Petroleum Minister Murli Deora met his Iranian counterpart Gholam Hosein Nozari on sidelines of a meeting of world oil producers and consumers in Jeddah on Monday evening and agreed for a trilateral meeting in Tehran next month.

"Most of the bilateral issues have been resolved... And now a trilateral meeting of oil ministers of the three countries is mostly likely to take place in Tehran next month," Petroleum Secretary MS Srinivasan, who was present at Sunday's meeting with Nozari, said on Monday.

New Delhi had in fact written to Iran to hold a trilateral meeting to resolve outstanding issue much before the Left's last week attack on the UPA Government for allegedly "dragging its feet" on the pipeline project.

Srinivasan said transit issues with Pakistan were settled when Deora had visited Islamabad in April and there were few issues with Iran that New Delhi wants to settle at the trilateral meeting in Tehran.

India wants Iran to handover custody of gas at the India-Pakistan border and not at Iran-Pakistan border, as had been suggested by Tehran, to cut transit risk through Pakistan. It has also opposed price revision clause that Iran is seeking to insert in the Gas Sales Agreement.

Besides, India is pressing Iran to dedicate a particular gas field like South Pars for Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline and get its reserves certified by a third party. It also wants to know alternate supply sources in event of depletion of reserves.