Pakistan calls for TAPI's early implementation
21 March, 2013
ASHGABAT: President Asif Ali Zardari said Pakistan's bilateral relations with Afghanistan were the most important component of its shared quest for peace and stability in the region. He was talking to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, here in the capital of Turkmenistan, while joining other world leaders at the international Nowruz Festival.
The President said Pakistan was fully committed to long term peace and stability in Afghanistan. He said the release of Taliban prisoners by Pakistan was done on the request of the Afghan High Peace Council. He said it was a demonstration of Pakistan's sincere support for the reconciliation efforts of the Afghan government.
The President said Pakistan was sincere in its endeavours and fully supports an Afghan led and owned reconciliation process.
President Asif Ali Zardari said Pakistan attaches priority to the US 7.6 billion dollars Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project and shares Turkmenistan's resolve to see it implemented as early as possible.
During a meeting with the President of Turkmenistan, Dr Gurbanguly M. Berdimuhamedov, he discussed a host of issues ranging from bilateral relations to promoting cooperation in all areas, especially on expanding ties in energy and trade sectors.
The President is accompanied by Dr Asim Hussain and former ministers Hina Rabbani Khar and Rehman Malik, during his two-day visit to Turkmenistan.
President Zardari during a meeting with his Turkmen counterpart said Turkmenistan could help meet Pakistan's growing energy requirements, while Pakistan could provide trade corridor to Turkmenistan, overland and through its ports.
Pakistan, facing a serious energy shortfall, has been seeking alternative sources of energy. President Zardari, along with Iranian President Dr Mahmoud Ahmdinejad, recently performed ground breaking ceremony of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, the peace pipeline project. The President also visited Turkmenistan in December 2010 to discuss the 1,680 km long Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, which would bring 3.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day (bcfd) from Turkmenistan's gas fields to Multan in central Pakistan and culminate in the northwestern Indian town of Fazilka. President Zardari said that Pakistan fully supports Turkmen initiative to establish trans-regional energy corridors.
Discussing bilateral relations, the President said there was a need to explore new avenues of cooperation in commercial and economic areas and measures need to be taken to increase bilateral trade in order to further cement bilateral relations. The President said greater trade requires better connectivity and stressed upon the need for establishing rail links between Pakistan and Turkmenistan.
The President during meeting also proposed that the two countries may consider entering into a currency swap agreement and the Governors of Central Banks of the two sides might meet to discuss cooperation in financial and banking sectors. President Zardari while noting rich experience of the two countries in agriculture and agro-based industry, including textile and food processing, said that both the countries could benefit from each other's expertise in these fields.