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US warns Pak on Iran-built oil refinery

PTI Washington | Updated on February 22, 2013

Amidst reports of Iran building an oil refinery inside Pakistan and a joint gas pipeline project, the United States today cautioned Islamabad against activities that are “sanctionable” under US laws.

The US asserted that there are better and more cost-effective ways to address Pakistan’s energy needs.

“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,” State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, told reporters at her daily news conference.

“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,” she said.

The United States is involved in many ways to help Pakistan address its energy needs, she said while responding to questions on Iran building an oil refinery inside Pakistan.

These includes a number of bilateral projects.

One of them being to add 900 megawatts of power to the grid by 2013, enough power to supply an estimated two million households, she said.

“We continue our dialogue with Pakistan with regard to Iran,” she said.

When specifically asked if the proposed oil refinery or 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,” said the State Department spokesperson.

Published on February 22, 2013

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