The White House is discussing the possibility of appointing a special envoy to conduct negotiations aimed at preventing the completion of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. About this writes on Wednesday the newspaper Politico, citing sources from among the former and current American officials.
According to the newspaper, the US National Security Assistant Jake Sullivan unofficially offered the position at the end of March to Amos Hockstein, who during the administration of the 44th US President Barack Obama served as special envoy and coordinator for international energy in the State Department. According to Politiko, Hockstein, who last year left the post of independent director of the supervisory board of Naftogaz of Ukraine, has not yet accepted Sullivan’s offer. The State Department and the White House have not yet responded to TASS’s request for comment on this information.
“It is not yet clear what the powers will be <... wp_automatic_readability="28"> special envoy, but his role, at least initially, will focus on delicate negotiations on how to prevent [завершению] construction of a gas pipeline, without pushing away [от Вашингтона] a key US ally in Berlin. Then he can expand [сферу своей ответственности] and tackle the broader spectrum of international energy issues, ”explains Politico.
According to the newspaper, the consideration of the possibility of appointing a special envoy for negotiations on Nord Stream 2 “indicates a new strategic direction” of the Washington administration. “The officials said <... wp_automatic_readability="22">that there is a consensus that the difficult geopolitics around Nord Stream 2 now require closer attention, especially when the construction of the gas pipeline <... wp_automatic_readability="44"> is nearing completion, ”the newspaper writes.
In addition, the US administration is being pressured on this issue by the opinion of many lawmakers from both parties, calling on the executive branch of government to prevent the completion of the gas pipeline “before it is too late.”
Threat of sanctions
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in March once again warned the participants of the Nord Stream 2 project against continuing work on the construction of the gas pipeline. A statement by the chief of American diplomacy at the time indicated that “the administration [президента США Джо] Biden intends to adhere to “US legislation, which provides for the imposition of sanctions against companies involved in the project.
At the same time, one of Politico’s sources said that the administration was “hesitating” in this matter: the US Justice Department last month gave a positive legal opinion on at least two packages of restrictive measures presented to it in an interdepartmental discussion that affect Nord Stream 2 AG (operator pipeline construction) and its executive director Matthias Warnig. “However, the packages have not yet been enforced,” explains Politico. In addition, it is not known whether the administration of Nord Stream 2 AG and Warnig will be included in the list of persons in respect of whom restrictions may be imposed. According to American law, the State Department is to submit another such list to the US Congress in May.
A number of officials also expressed to Politico their fears that, in the context of sanctions, the appointment of a special envoy could be counterproductive, “which will further delay [введение дополнительных] restrictions “against” Nord Stream – 2 “.
The Nord Stream 2 project envisages the construction of two strings of a gas pipeline with a total capacity of 55 billion cubic meters per year from the Russian coast through the Baltic Sea to Germany. The carrying capacity of each of the two lines is 27.5 billion cubic meters per year. The new pipeline will double the capacity of the first Nord Stream, the route of which will largely be repeated.