‘Better’ ways to meet Pakistan’s energy needs than Pak-Iran gas deal: US

Victoria Nuland—Reuters Photo

WASHINGTON: The United States says there are “better and more cost-effective” ways for Pakistan to address its energy needs than projects like the Pak-Iran gas pipeline deal.

“We understand that Pakistan has significant energy needs and requirements, but there are other long-term solutions to Pakistan’s energy needs that we would believe would have better potential for success and would better meet Pakistan’s needs than spending scarce resources on projects like this,” State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters at the daily press briefing on Thursday.

She was responding to a question about press reports that Pakistan would face US sanctions if it went ahead with the Pak-Iran pipeline project. “Let me just say broadly that we continue our dialogue with Pakistan with regard to Iran,” Nuland said.

“We’ve made clear to countries around the world, including Pakistan, that we believe that it’s in their interest to avoid activities that could be prohibited by UN sanctions or that could be sanctionable under US law.”

The United States, she added, was involved in many ways to help Pakistan address its energy needs, including ones that will add some 900 megawatts of power to the grid by 2013, enough power to supply an estimated 2 million households.

These include renovating the power plant at Tarbela and the Mangla Dams, modernizing the thermal power plant at Guddu and Jamshoro, Muzaffargarh and building new plants at Satpara and the Gomal Dam.

When specifically asked if the proposed gas pipeline with Pakistan come under the sanctionable items, Nuland said as these are being developed, she is not in a position to make that kind of an assessment.

“But we believe there are better ways and more secure ways and more cost-efficient ways for Pakistan to get its power,” she added.

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