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US Representatives Slam Policy Change Over East Med Pipeline

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US Representatives Gus M. Bilirakis and Nicole Malliotakis question State Department’s policy on East Med Pipeline. Credit: Public domain

Two Greek-American members of Congress are asking the State Department to explain their decision to cancel the Eastern Mediterranean gas pipeline.

Gus M. Bilirakis and Nicole Malliotakis have requested a meeting with Naz Durakoglu, Acting Assistant Secretary of State, to understand why the US has changed its position on the project.

Durakoglu wrote a letter claiming that the “United States did not reverse its position as it had not formally or financially supported the East Mediterranean Gas Pipeline thus far.”

Bilirakis and Maliotakis have written their own response questioning the validity of Duarkoglu’s claim. The two representatives say that Durakoglu’s statements are “simply not true” and that the US had in fact backed the project, pointing to multiple joint statements made by the US and Greek governments.

The two added that the officials “oversaw energy diplomacy during the Trump Administration … expressed US support for the East Mediterranean gas pipeline on multiple occasions.”

“Whether you want to classify the Administration’s position as a clarification or a reversal, it is clearly a position at odds with positions taken during the Trump Administration, at odds with positions taken by members of Congress, and at odds with American law,” Bilirakis and Malliotakis wrote.
Politicians demand answers for the abandonment of the East Med pipeline

Their response contains an in-depth analysis of the State Department’s actions:

“While previous expressions of US support for the East Mediterranean gas pipeline were indeed conditioned on commercial viability and the State Department’s reversal in policy assumes lack of such viability, this is a conclusion that seems to have been reached unilaterally, absent consultations with our allies and partners in the region and before the completion of feasibility studies.”

“The EastMed Act requires multiple reports to be submitted to Congress regarding energy development and infrastructure, and to our knowledge, no report has been submitted comprehensively analyzing the commercial viability issue. The State Department appears to have rushed to a conclusion here and in the process skipped several key steps including consulting with US allies and partners and with the United States Congress as required by the EastMed Act.”

“The State Department has unilaterally taken options off the table. The manner in which the issue of the East Mediterranean gas pipeline was handled only helps the malign influences, including Russia, Turkey, and Iran, that we identified in the EastMed Act.”

“We are requesting an in-person briefing for ourselves, the other co-authors of the House’s version of the EastMed Act, Representatives Ted Deutch, and David Cicilline, and other members interested in this decision by Mr. Amos Hochstein and anyone else responsible for the drafting of the non-paper on the East Mediterranean gas pipeline and in determining Administration policy regarding bringing Eastern Mediterranean energy resources to market quickly,” they conclude.

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