(IRNA) - Pakistan has welcomed Russia's offer to join the multi-billion Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project amidst reports Russia's biggest natural gas producer, Gazprom, has shown interest in the project.
Any company or country wishing to join the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project would be welcomed, Foreign Office spokesperson Ms Tasneem Aslam told the state-run television PTV, reports Trend.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was quoted as saying Thursday last week that Russia's gas monopoly, Gazprom, is prepared to take part in the pipeline project.
Putin said state-controlled Gazprom's role could include attracting finance for the gas pipeline, which would pass through Pakistan.
Gazprom is ready to participate, including in terms of financing, in implementing the project especially as a project like this can pay for itself, Putin said in Shanghai.
The Pakistani spokesperson told PTV that Pakistan was considering the offer of Russia's Gasprom seriously as it is "an important company having vast experience in the field."
Pakistan Ambassador to Moscow Mustafa Kamal Qazi, in a recent interview, had also stated that Pakistan wants Russia to be a partner in the gas pipeline that joins Iran, Pakistan and India.
Russia's participation would help boost Indo-Pak ties, speed up construction of the pipeline and enhance bilateral economic cooperation between Pakistan and Russia, Qazi said.
The Russian state-owned Gazpram, the largest natural gas extractor in the world, has shown interest in the 2700-km-long pipeline estimated to cost around 7.4 billion dollars.
The firm's officials will soon visit Pakistan to discuss cooperation in the energy sector, Qazi said.
He, however, did not elaborate on how Pakistan wants Russia to be associated with the project.
The invitation to Russia by Pakistan to join the IPI adds a new dimension to the project as Russia, a close ally of India, is also closely associated with Iran.
Top American officials have conveyed US concerns over the pipeline, and cautioned that it could attract sanctions under the US' Iran and Libya Sanctions Act of 1996 (ILSA), which forbids more than 20 million dollars investment in Iranian oil sectors.
The US has also conveyed its concerns to New Delhi over the project due to differences with Tehran over Iran's nuclear program.
To a question, the Pakistani Foreign Office spokesperson supported the idea of electing a new UN secretary-general from Asia, adding that most Asian and African countries were also in favor of the idea.
There are three Asian candidates in the field from Thailand, Sri Lanka and India. Pakistan is analyzing latest developments, she said.
Responding to a question, she said sustainable, durable and irreversible peace with India was necessary to avoid problems in bilateral relations.