The EastMed pipeline is too expensive, not economically viable and will take too long, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Victoria Nuland, said on Thursday after a meeting she had, in Nicosia, with Cyprus President, Nicos Anastasiades.
Asked if the EastMed pipeline is a vital option for the US after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Nuland said that “the idea there is to build a very long pipeline in very deep water over some ten years and we believe that it is too expensive, not economically viable and will take too long.”
She stressed the importance of the transition to green energy, noting that “we don’t have ten years. In ten years from now we want to be far more green and far more diverse. So, what we are looking for in the hydrocarbon context are options that can get us more gas, more oil for this short transition period. So, we are focused now on energy interconnectors, we are focused on projects that can deliver now for Cyprus both in the south and in the north, for Europe, for all of the countries of this neighbourhood.”
Invited to elaborate on the options that the US is looking at for the region, Nuland said that “the idea would be for everybody to benefit because there is a need for alternative supplies of energy everywhere.”
“Countries throughout this area have understood that dependence on Russian oil and gas is extremely bad and there is a convergence of interest in diversifying supply even as we work to get green. We have supported the idea of the Euro-Asian electricity interconnector, other projects like that that we want to see become viable,” the US official said.
She also noted that “we are also strong supporters of the idea of the 3+1” (Cyprus, Greece, Israel + the US).
“I was in Ankara on Monday with a delegation and I have the strong sense they too are looking at diversifying energy supplies. So there may be opportunity in this that we need to develop and continue to talk about,” Nuland said.
Invited to say if she is bringing any ideas to discuss with the two sides in Cyprus to help move forward as regards the solution of the Cyprus problem, she noted that “we are interested in hearing perspectives both in the north and in the south.”
“We are always interested in supporting Confidence Building Measures, things that can improve the economy on both the north and the south of the island. But primarily this is an opportunity to hear whether there convergence of views that we can build on,” she added.
In her statements, Nuland said that “we are enormously gratified to be in strong partnership with Cyprus at this absolutely vital moment for democracy as we stand together in the face of Putin’s brutal aggression in Ukraine.”
“Cyprus has provided humanitarian support and has restricted Russian naval vessels in this region. It has stood strongly in the EU and globally for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. It has welcomed Ukrainians here and we stand together to ensure that this strong is a strategic failure for Putin and we stand strongly with the brave people of Ukraine who are fighting not only for their own homeland but for the freedom of all of us,” the US official noted.
She noted that “we had a good discussion about what more needs to be done including the decision yesterday by the US, the EU and other democracies, including G7 countries to increase sanctions and pressure.”
“We also reviewed the growing US security relationship with the Republic of Cyprus,” she said, and referred to the inauguration on Wednesday of the Cyprus Center for Land, Open-seas, and Port Security (CyCLOPS).
Nuland said that “it will be a training center not just for Americans and Cypriots but also for countries around the region and that is really a sea-change in the way we operate together.”
Referring the meeting she would later have with Turkish Cypriot leader, Ersin Tatar, after her meeting with Anastasiades, she noted that she would talk to him “about the United States continued support for efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue in a bicommunal way, as we have always supported over the years.”
Nuland also referred to the cooperation between the US and Cyprus in the areas of culture, science and people to people contacts.
She said that on Wednesday she met with a group of young people from both sides, who are working separately and together on bicommunal issues. “It was really inspiring and the US is very proud to support these efforts,” she noted.