Sunday April 14, 2024

Pak-US continuing diplomatic discussions on Iran gas pipeline project: State Dept

State Dept spokesperson refuses to comment on "details of diplomatic discussions"

By Rana Ghulam Qadir & Wajid Ali Syed
February 28, 2024
Iranian workers are seen working on the Pak-Iran gas pipeline project. — AFP/File
Iranian workers are seen working on the Pak-Iran gas pipeline project. — AFP/File

WASHINGTON: The United States State Department Wednesday revealed that Washington continues to discuss the Pak-Iran gas pipeline project with Islamabad, refusing to further comment on the "details of diplomatic discussions".

The State Department's statement comes a day after the project received a green signal from the caretaker cabinet. The spokesperson, therefore, responded to a question on the resumption of the gas pipeline project and whether it was still a concern for the American government.

The State Department maintained that helping Pakistan address its energy shortage crisis is a priority for the US.

"We have supported the addition of approximately 4,000MW of energy capacity in Pakistan. Our projects have dramatically increased the nation's electricity capacity — today powering the homes of more than 50 million Pakistanis," said the spokesperson.

Sharing details of the US-Pakistan Green Alliance, a transformative initiative between the two countries, the State Department said Washington was working with Islamabad to address "today's most pressing environmental challenges, especially around water management, climate-smart agriculture, and renewable energy".

The aforementioned statement by the State Department comes after the caretaker government approved the postponement of its plan to file an appeal against the US sanctions under the Pak-Iran Gas Pipeline project, The News reported today.

The decision was made due to the current geopolitical situation.

According to sources, the decisions made by the Ministerial Oversight Committee regarding the Pak-Iran gas pipeline project have been approved.

The Petroleum Division prepared the summary based on the decisions of the Ministerial Oversight Committee. Though the final draft of the application was prepared, the plan to submit it to the US authorities has now been postponed. The Petroleum Division has prepared a summary based on the decisions of the committee, which has been approved.

A day earlier, the caretaker federal cabinet committee approved the Pak-Iran gas pipeline project with plans to complete it in a year, marking it a major development with hopes of boosting the country's energy security.

The federal cabinet, on February 23, approved a summary through circulation to ratify an earlier decision taken by the Cabinet Committee on Energy greenlighting the project that has seen more than a decade’s delay.

The 1,931-kilometres-long gas pipeline project is likely to be completed in one year and will cost $158 million. Out of total length, 1,150 kilometres of the pipeline will be laid inside Iran and the remaining in Pakistan up to Gwadar.

It may be pointed out here that Iran had already completed the laying of a 900-kilometre pipeline. The project agreement was signed in 2009 and was to be completed in 2015.