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News number: 8808171545

18:02 | 2009-11-08

Economy

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Talks on IPI Pipeline to be Resumed in November

TEHRAN (FNA)- Negotiations on a multi-billion-dollar pipeline which is due to take Iran's rich gas reserves to the energy hungry Pakistan and India are likely to resume on November 16, an Indian official announced.



India's Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Murli Deora told the Asian Age daily that differences on the delivery point of the gas transferred from Iran is the main reason behind a delay for a final agreement on the issue.

"They (Iranians) have said that the delivery point will be the Iranian border, we don't agree with it," Deora told the paper.

India wants the delivery point to be on the Pakistan-India border.

Deora said that he had even discussed the issue with the top officials of Pakistan, adding that other issues like transit fees and the price of gas are less important.

"These issues can be resolved easily but the main issue is delivery the point," said the minister.

According to the newspaper, Iranian Foreign Minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, will be in India on 16 and the 17 of November, with the IPI being on the top of his agenda.

The 2,775 km Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline, nicknamed Peace Pipeline, was scheduled to take natural gas from Iran to India. However, due to rising tensions between India and Pakistan, New Delhi stepped back from the later stages of negotiations, although it has never formally withdrawn from the scheme.

The IPI pipeline was proposed in 1995, and, after almost 13 years of negotiations, India decided to step back last year.

Indian officials have many times cited security issues and the viability of the pipeline that would pass through the territory of rival Pakistan, where a near-civil war is raging between government forces and pro-Taliban militants.

Previously, Iran's Ambassador to India, Seyed Mehdi Nabizadeh called on India to rejoin the project, saying that the offer would not remain open for an "unlimited period".