India on Monday said it will sign "very soon" an agreement with Iran and Pakistan in connection with the transnational pipeline project involving the three countries.
Petroleum Minister Murli Deora after a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Gholam Hosein Nozari for talks on the $7.5 billion Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline project said there were "some minor problems" which have been sorted out. "There were also some issues with Pakistan that has been taken care of," Deora said. "The Pakistan oil minister has changed and so we have to deal with the new minister who is going to deal with it. Very soon we should be able to sign the agreement with Iran and Pakistan," he said.
The project was first mooted in 1994 but has been stalled by a series of disputes over prices and transit fees. Finance Minister P Chidambaram also accompanied Deora for the talks held on the sidelines of the meeting of world energy ministers in Jeddah to discuss strategies to calm spiralling crude prices. The meeting comes in the backdrop of the UPA government coming under attack from the Left for allegedly "dragging its feet" on the pipeline.
CPM general secretary Prakash Karat said in Chennai that "We want the negotiations to continue so that the deal is completed". Trilateral talks have remained stuck for the past few months. Indian officials at Jeddah said over phone that Deora and Chidambaram also met oil Nigerian oil minister.