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Sharif to visit Turkmenistan for TAPI pipeline ceremony

Friday, Dec 11, 2015,14:57 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Islamabad | Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will embark on a two-day visit to Turkmenistan tomorrow to attend the ground breaking ceremony of a key multi-billion dollar 1,735-kilometre gas pipeline connecting Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

Foreign Office said in a statement that he is undertaking the visit at the invitation of the President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. The Prime Minister would participate in the ground breaking ceremony of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) Gas Pipeline Project along with the President of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan and Vice President of India (Hamid Ansari). He will also attend an international conference being convened in Ashgabat to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Turkmenistans Permanent Neutrality.

The visit will provide a good opportunity for Pakistan to re-affirm its support for Turkmenistan’s long-standing policy of permanent neutrality, the statement said. The visit would also highlight the importance that Pakistan attaches to the TAPI Gas Pipeline Project and our commitment to its early completion. Pakistan will be able to import 1325 MMcfd (Million Cubic Feet per Day) natural gas from Turkmenistan.

Thus, this project will help in mitigating energy deficit in Pakistan, the statement said. In his bilateral interactions with the Turkmen President, the Prime Minister will share Pakistan’s perspective on important developments impinging on peace and security in the region and reiterate Pakistan’s keen desire to sustain and expand bilateral cooperation with Turkmenistan in trade, energy and defence. He will also hold a bilateral meeting with the President of Turkey. There is no confirmation of any formal meeting with Indian vice president but Sharif may have brief interaction with him, officials said.