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Statements on anti NordStream 2 sanctions can be part of US' negotiating tactic — expert

Adjunct Fellow at the Center for a New American Security Rachel Ziemba commented on US Energy Secretary Rick Perry's statement that US would draft a bill on new sanctions aimed against the pipeline

WASHINGTON, May 23. /TASS/. Statements on inevitable sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline may be a tactical move by the US administration, Rachel Ziemba, Adjunct Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, told TASS.

She was commenting on the recent statement by US Energy Secretary Rick Perry. During his visit in Kiev he said that that the US authorities would draft a bill on new sanctions aimed against Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

It is possible that these statements by Perry represent a kind of diversion of the American administration in its interaction with the US Congress or the method it used to increase pressure on the German government, Zimba said.

"I’m not sure whether sanctions would actually be imposed or whether this is part of a negotiating tactic with the Germans," she said.

A trick of executive authorities?

"I’m a bit surprised at the timing [when Perry made his statement] and believe it may be part of the administration trying to deflect other sanctions bills," the expert said.

According to her estimate, the Trump administration "has been reluctant to implement a range of different congressional mandated sanctions on Russia."

"So I am surprised that Perry has been so forthright about the likelihood of legislation," the expert said.

Last autumn, Ziemba consulted the Senate of the US Congress on efficiency of sanctions as an instrument of the US foreign policy.

"I’m not sure whether sanctions would actually be imposed or whether this is part of a negotiating tactic with the Germans on other issues and a warning sign to Russia," Ziemba said.

"I wonder if the timing is connected to the ongoing negotiations over trade issues directly. It may also be an attempt to deflect some attention from congress who are looking to mandate more extensive sanctions, boxing in the President," she added.

No threat to gas pipeline

The analyst suggested that there was no threat to the completion of the construction of the pipeline, despite the speculations about new sanctions from Washington.

"The pipeline is mostly finished as far as I understand which suggests it might be symbolic as far as the pipeline is concerned," she underscored.

However, she noted that so far it remains to be seen whether the US authorities might impose measures trying to block German access to the gas, exported by Russia.

"This would be seen as a massive escalation by the Germans and would not be viewed favorably," she said.

In her opinion, retaliation of Germany and other EU states involved "would depend on what sanctions if any are imposed [by the US]."

Finally, Zimba added that the threats of developing new sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 project were made at that moment "when European officials are already facing greater challenges given the unilateral application of secondary sanctions on Iran."

She reminded that the anti-Iranian sanction seriously affect Europe.

About project

Due to a number of geopolitical reasons Washington openly opposes the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and is making active efforts to block the project. Many experts point out that by doing so the United States is trying to "push" supplies of its liquefied natural gas to the European market, which is significantly more expensive than the Russian pipeline.

In 2017, the United States adopted the CAATSA Act ("On Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions"). It provides for the possibility of applying unilateral restrictive measures, in particular against the companies participating in the implementation of the Nord Stream 2 project.

The Nord Stream 2 project will consist of two gas pipeline lines with a total capacity of 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year from the coast of Russia through the Baltic Sea to Germany. The total capacity of the project is 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year. The cost of construction is estimated at 9.5 billion euros.

Commissioning of the Nord Stream 2 is scheduled for the end of 2019. The capacity of each of the two lines is 27.5 bln cubic meters per year. The new gas pipeline will double the capacity of the first Nord Stream pipeline, the route of which will mainly repeat.

Nord Stream 2 AG, which is fully owned by Gazprom is the operator of the gas pipeline construction. On Tuesday, the operator reported that 52.6% of the pipeline has been built.