Today's Paper

Pranab holds talks with Ahmadinejad

Atul Aneja

TEHRAN: External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee held talks with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the sidelines of the 15th meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) nations here. The focus was on development of energy ties and cross-border transportation links

A senior Foreign Office official told reporters that both sides reaffirmed that “they would purposefully move forward on energy related matters,” including the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline.

Asked whether the “non-paper,” stating India’s concerns about the gas pipeline was discussed, the official said specifics of the project did not feature during the meeting. He added that no discussions took place on the status of the India-United States nuclear deal.

The “non-paper,” was handed over to the Iranian side during Mr. Ahmadinejad’s April 29 visit to New Delhi,

On transit, he said India and Iran had been partners in developing the north-south corridor that was used for transporting Indian goods through Iran and then across the Caspian Sea into Russia and Europe.

Both sides were now working on developing a route that linked the Iranian port of Chabahar to Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Terror issue

Iran, he said, also shared India’s concerns about terrorism in the light of the attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul and the blasts in Bangalore and Hyderabad.

Mr. Mukherjee also met his counterparts from Belarus, Cyprus and Algeria on the sidelines of the NAM meeting.

While Belarus and Cyprus are members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Algeria is on the agency’s Board of Governors.

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