Pakistani President Muhammad Rafiq Tarar on Wednesday voiced support for the Iran-India gas pipeline through Pakistan while opening a regional economic meeting here.
Tarar told delegates to the two-day ministerial conference of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) that Pakistan's backing to the project showed its commitment to closer regional economic ties.
The meeting will discuss cooperation among the member states in the petroleum and power sectors, especially the construction of oil and gas pipelines, officials said.
The 10-nation ECO groups Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhzstan, Kyrghzstan, Azerbaijan and Afghanistan.
Tarar said another gas pipeline project, linking Pakistan and Turkmenistan through Afghanistan, could also be extended to India if it ever gets underway.
Despite certain difficulties due to reasons "beyond our control" the Pakistan-Turkmenistan pipeline remains a "viable project," Tarar said, referring to the civil war in Afghanistan.
He said Pakistan's 1,000-kilometre (625-mile) coastline had several potential locations for oil export terminals to ship Central Asian oil to South East Asia and the Far East.
"One of the biggest challenges being faced by this region is the attainment of sustainable economic growth through peaceful co-existence and global political cooperation," he said.
He called for removing impediments to regional cooperation while respecting the national interests of the member states.
Pakistan is "keen to see a prosperous, developed, and stable ECO regional block", the president said.
ECO Secretary General Abdolrahim Gavahi underlined the importance of gas and oil pipeline projects.
He said one aim of the organization was to facilitate the access of resource-rich landlocked member countries to international markets.—AFP.
©--Agence France Presse.
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)