No progress in Pakistan, Afghanistan eco projects: Medvedev
DUSHANBE: Russia on Friday lamented a lack of progress in joint energy projects with Pakistan and Afghanistan that could help bring stability to the volatile region as President Dmitry Medvedev met his counterparts for a security summit.
Meeting his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari and Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai for a four-way summit that also included Tajikistan, Medvedev said Russia was ready to invest “millions of dollars” in the joint energy projects.
“There’s a whole range of projects that have been on the table for a long time which have seen no movement forward and which should be implemented,” Medvedev said in the Tajik capital Dushanbe.
“It is time to move from words to deeds,” he said, referring to a project codenamed CASA-1000, whose aim will be sending power from Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and a transnational gas pipeline.
The four-way summit in the ex-Soviet Central Asian nation of Tajikistan comes after Medvedev hosted Zardari, Karzai and Tajikistan President Emomali Rakhmon for a rare summit in Sochi in August 2010.
During that gathering the four leader agreed to pursue joint economic projects to help bring stability to the volatile region.
Speaking in Dushanbe, Medvedev said Russia was ready to invest “hundreds of millions of dollars” into the CASA-1000 project to send power from Tajikistan and fellow Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“But for it to happen, necessary organisational decisions should be taken first, we have to be invited,” Medvedev told reporters after the talks.
He also confirmed Russia’s interest in a key transnational gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India.
The 1,700-kilometre Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline has been on hold for many years due to the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan and economic reasons.
The gas price has also been a contentious issue.
“The question is at what price Turkmenistan would be selling gas to the project’s participants?” Russian energy minister Sergei Shmatko told reporters in Dushanbe.
The TAPI pipeline aims to transport over 30 billion cubic metres of gas annually from the Dauletabad gas fields in southeast Turkmenistan and could become a cash cow for Afghanistan in transit fees.