Ashqabad, Islamabad for early execution of TAPI project
PESHAWAR (Pajhwok): Islamabad has renewed its commitment to the early execution of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project, calling it a giant stride towards regional integration with Central Asia.
At a joint news conference with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhammadov late on Wednesday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan was ready to provide any assistance to expedite the implementation of the project and cut its cost.
A huge energy scheme, the TAPI project could be emerge as a trade and transit corridor involving gas pipelines, roads, electricity transmission and fibre optic lines, he said, stressing strenuousefforts for its implementation at the earliest.
While hailing Turkmenistan’s offer to export 1,000MW of electricity to Pakistan, the prime minister said bilateral trade needed to be boosted. He also called for facilitating business visas to achieve that objective.
The two nations signed eight accords on bilateral cooperation, including a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on financial intelligence to curb money-laundering and terror financing. Sharif and Berdimuhammadov witnessed the signing of the accords.
Pakistan shared the concern that terrorism and extremism were the root cause of insecurity and instability in the region. “This menace also undermines our endeavours for socio-economic development. We have to work collectively to eradicate the scourge of terrorism and extremism,” Sharif said.
Berdimuhammadov, who was accorded a warm welcome on his arrival at the Prime Minister’s House, said both the countries were faced with common challenges. “Combating common threats is our shared goal,” he added.
The visiting president hoped: "The gas line would bring warmth and cordiality, and generate economic activity, create job opportunities and improve the living standards of our peoples." It would boost socio-economic cooperation, he believed.
Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain called the project a game changer with benefits for all participating countries. The ground breaking ceremony for the project was a welcome development and Pakistan was looking forward to its completion by 2018, he said.
“Pakistan also looks forward to the import of 1000MW electricity from Turkmenistan on a fast track basis,” he said at a meeting with the Berdimuhamedov.
Berdimuhamedov indicated his country’s interest in implementing joint ventures and forging close cooperation with Pakistan. He said the TAPI project would benefit all countries in the region and Turkmenistan was building transportation corridors to revive the ancient silk route.
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