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Iranian President Enhances Chances of Building Gas Pipeline with South Asia

Iranian President Ahmadinejad (left) in talks with his Pakistani counterpart, Musharraf. The hanging photo is that of Muhammad Ali Jinah, the founder of modern Pakistan (assassinated).

Iran and Pakistan agreed to settle all issues relating to the laying of the $7.6 billion Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project, Pakistan's foreign minister said.

This came during a visit to Islamabad by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Iranian president left for Sri Lanka.

The pipeline would initially transport 60 million cubic meters of gas (2.2 billion cubic feet) daily to Pakistan and India, half for each country, but the capacity would be raised later to 150 million cubic meters (5.297 billion cubic feet). (1 cubic meter = 35.3146 cubic feet)

Hours before Ahmadinejad arrived to the Sri Lankan capital Colombo to inaugurate a $450 million hydroelectric power plant financed by Iran, Sri Lanka's national power grid crashed for the second time in a month, officials said.

Iran is providing Sri Lanka with a $1.5 billion loan to fund infrastructure projects, including the 100 megawatt power plant [that crashed] as well as projects to triple the country’s oil refinery capacity.

Ahmadinejad is due in New Delhi late Tuesday to hold talks on the IPI project with Indian officials.

The US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said on Monday that Washington would “counsel against” the pipeline project.

al-Ayyam, Yemen, April 29, 2008; PRESSTV, Iran, April 29, 2008

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