Turkmen, Afghan and Pakistani leaders to discuss gas-pipeline project in Ashkhabad

Hamid Karzai, head of Afghanistan's interim government, Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali of Pakistan and President Saparmurat Niyazov of Turkmenistan are to discuss the construction of a Turkmen-Afghan-Pakistani gas pipeline in Ashkhabad December 26th-27th. The leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan are to arrive in the Turkmen capital in the afternoon today.

According to the Turkmen Foreign Ministry, the sides will sign an inter-government agreement dealing with specific principles of the afore-said gas pipeline's expanded construction, as well as principles for establishing the gas-pipeline consortium, after the talks wind up.

The leaders of Turkmenia, Afghanistan and Pakistan inked a preliminary gas-pipeline agreement this past May in Islamabad. A supervisory committee for implementing the pipeline-construction project was established since May.

Plans are to build a gas pipeline from Turkmenia into Afghanistan and Pakistan. The projected pipeline will be pumping gas from the Dovletabad deposit, which contains 1.7 trillion cubic meters of gas.

The 1,500-km pipeline with an annual throughput capacity of 15-30 billion cu. m. of gas will cost an estimated $2-2.5 billion to complete.

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