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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

US looks to appoint special envoy to stop Russia-Germany gas pipeline: report

08.04.2021 14:55
The White House is in talks to appoint a special envoy to lead negotiations on halting the construction of the Nord Stream 2 undersea gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, according to a report.
Pipes for the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea gas pipeline lie in storage at the German port of Mukran at the end of last year.
Pipes for the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea gas pipeline lie in storage at the German port of Mukran at the end of last year.Photo: PAP/Stefan Sauer/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa

The effort comes as President Joe Biden’s administration looks for ways to stymie a nearly completed energy project that could serve as a major financial and geopolitical boon to Moscow, the Politico news service reported.

Amos Hochstein, who served as the special envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs under President Barack Obama, was informally offered the role late last month, Politico reported, citing “current and former U.S. officials” it did not name.

Hochstein, who was a close adviser and confidant to Biden in the latter's former role as vice president, is being vetted and has not yet accepted the job, Politico added.

It also reported that Hochstein late last year stepped down from the supervisory board of the Ukrainian energy company Naftogaz.

The potential appointment of an envoy indicates a new strategic focus by the US administration amid consensus that “the thorny geopolitics surrounding Nord Stream 2 now requires more dedicated attention,” according to Politico.

The move is also a nod to pressure from the US Senate, where both Republicans and Democrats have been pushing the Biden administration to effectively cripple the controversial pipeline, which is already nearly 96 percent finished, the news service reported.

A high-ranking German politician last month called for a construction moratorium on the Nord Stream 2 project, according to a report at the time by a Polish website.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned in March that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline being built from Russia to Germany could undermine the interests of a number of NATO allies, including Poland.

Speaking on a visit to NATO headquarters in Brussels, Blinken said Biden “believes the pipeline is a bad idea, bad for Europe, bad for the United States.”

Nord Stream 2, designed to double the capacity of the existing Nord Stream undersea gas pipeline, is expected to send around 55 billion cubic metres of Russian natural gas a year directly to Germany under the Baltic Sea while bypassing the Baltic states, Poland and Ukraine.

Poland has strongly criticised the gas link amid concerns that the pipeline will make the European Union more dependent on Russian gas.

(gs/pk)

Source: energetyka24.compolitico.eu