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US WITHDRAWS SUPPORT FROM EASTMED
With a non-paper the US State Department has ‘ended” the
EastMed project, Greek media have been reporting in the last
two days. With a length of 1,900 km and a cost of some 6 billion
euros, the Eastern Mediterranean pipeline (Eastmed) was
planned to transfer natural gas from the Levantine Basin to
Greece and from the to Italy and other European regions.
According to Greek media, the US state Department sent the
non-paper to the Greek government, with the formal recipient
being the Secretary General of International Economic Relations
and Extroversion of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Giannis
Smyrlis. The non-paper was reportedly sent also to The Israeli
government, however, not to the embassies of Greece, Cyrpus
and Israel in Washington.
Although the non-paper or parts of it have not been published
and so far there is not official statement from the government,
media report that Washington lists three reasons for not
providing diplomatic support to the project.
In a Tweet posted by the Washington correspondent of Greek
ERT network, it is stated:
“The non-paper for the EastMed Gas Pipeline lists 3 reasons for
Washington not providing diplomatic support 1) environmental
protection / energy transition / turn to renewables 2) lack of
economic and commercial viability 3) creating tensions in the
The US Ambassador to Athens, Geoffrey Pyatt has been
reportedly posting on Twitter posts about the issue saying that
there has been no change in the State Department regarding the
Nevertheless, U.S. Senator and chairman of the U.S. Senate
Foreign Relations Committee Bob Menendez has asked the State
Department for clarifications, ANT1 TV reported from
Washington at Sunday noon.
Several Greek media see in the US decision a clear position in
favor of Turkey that has vehemently opposed the project.
Some analysts note that the project had problems of financial
viability right form the beginning, however, they point out at the
geopolitical aspect of the EastMed as “a source of tension in the
Eastern Mediterranean Sea and a clear US shifting of balance in
favor of Turkey.”
The big issue for Greece is, though, that it created a whole
narrative around the project cheering that it would turn the
country into an energy hub in the area and would increase the
geopolitical influence of the country.
In 2013, the construction of the EastMed pipeline was
designated under European Commission Regulation 347/2013
as a Project of Common Interest and during the 2015-2018
period the Commission contributed more than €34.5 million
(US$38.9 million) to complete technical, economic and
environmental studies for the project.
The Energy Triangle of Greece, Cyprus, and Israel signed an
intergovernmental agreement for the EastMed gas pipeline in
Tel Aviv on 20 March 2019 in the presence of United States
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a sign of support from
Washington for the project. American interest on the pipeline is
explained by Washington’s demand that its European partners
maintain a diversification policy of their energy imports The
pipeline will diversify European gas supplies and lessen
dependence on Russian Natural Gas.
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