US promises to help meet energy needs

Express June 16, 2010

ISLAMABAD: The US has said it will assist Islamabad in addressing the hardships experienced by Pakistanis because of energy shortfalls.

The US expressed this commitment during a meeting of the Energy Working Group under the US-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue held here on Wednesday.

According to a joint declaration issued at the end of the meeting, discussions focused on short and medium-term steps to tackle Pakistan’s energy shortfalls and the means to return the sector to a sustainable footing.

The meeting follows the October 2009 and March 2010 bilateral dialogues.

Water and Power Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf led the Pakistan delegation while David A Lipton, Assistant to the President and Senior Director of International Economics
at the National Security Council, led the US team at the talks.

Pakistan presented the steps to address the energy crisis, including the April 2010 energy summit and Prime Minister Gilani’s energy plan. The US side appreciated Pakistan’s efforts to address short-term energy shortfalls and pledged to assist in their implementation.

Both sides also discussed energy sector solvency and measures to craft a climate attractive to private sector investment.

They reviewed progress in implementing the first phase of the US energy programme, including the rehabilitation of power facilities, tube well pump efficiency, and enhanced distribution company performance.

The US team also discussed future plans to address Pakistan’s medium and long-term energy needs.

After the meeting, a water and power ministry spokesman told Online news agency that Raja Pervez Ashraf made it clear to the US team that Pakistan needs cheap electricity and “we want the US to enhance cooperation in hydel energy projects, coal energy and alternative energy projects”.

He said the US understands Pakistan’s power needs and future cooperation in this sector would be enhanced.

(Additional input from Online)

Published in the Express Tribune, June 17th, 2010.


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