US to offer counterproposal to Gazprom plan, minister says

The USA intends to offer Greece a counterproposal to Gazprom’s plan for “Greek Stream,” the local segment of “Turkish Stream”, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias has announced.

Kotzias, currently on an official visit in the USA, told reporters that Russia had made Greece “a very good offer” while adding that his US counterpart John Kerry promised the USA will make a counterproposal to “Turkish Stream” and that the US Department of State’s Acting Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs, Amos Hochstein, will soon visit Athens for talks.

“Turkish Stream” is Moscow’s latest natural gas pipeline proposal for supply to the EU from the south, via the Greek-Turkish border area, following the indefinite shelving of “South Stream”, over EU-linked legal complications. This project was planned to bypass Ukraine, cross the Black Sea, and reach Bulgaria.

Kotzias noted that Greece’s recent talks with Gazprom on the pipeline project were based on economic concerns, not political. He described Gazprom’s interest to develop pipeline infrastructure through Greece as part of a wider effort against US intentions aiming to limit central and eastern Europe’s dependence on Russian energy.

Responding to a question on Greece’s negotiations with European creditors, Kotzias noted that Greece was ready to compromise and that “nobody will play any games.” The minister added that European officials will need to respect leftist Syriza’s election victory last January, based on an anti-austerity platform. “We’ve had very bad results after five years of austerity,” he noted.