Mitchell: US supports LNG terminal project on island of Krk


The United States appreciates Croatia's contribution to global security and its efforts regarding the European Union's energy diversification, US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, A. Wess Mitchell, said after meeting with senior Croatian officials in Zagreb on Wednesday.

Expressing satisfaction with the friendship and the close alliance between Croatia and the United States, Mitchell said that his talks with Croatian officials focused on ways to strengthen that friendship.

Conveying his country’s appreciation of Croatia’s contribution to international security, Mitchell emphasised Croatia’s participation in the KFOR mission in Kosovo, the ISAF mission in Afghanistan, and the Resolute Support mission, which followed on ISAF, and which started on 1 January 2015.

Mitchell said that his talks with senior Croatian officials also involved the issues of energy, as well as the state of the wider region and Croatia’s role as a regional leader and a source of stability in the Adriatic and the Western Balkans.

One of the topics discussed was the liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal on the northern Adriatic island of Krk, Mitchell said, adding that his country valued the efforts of the Croatian government in contributing to the energy diversification of the European Union.

“We still believe that it is in Europe’s long-term interest to diversify energy sources and supply routes. That is the position of both the USA and the EU,” Mitchell said, adding that he would discuss the LNG terminal with EU officials in Brussels on June 21-22.

As for the indebted food and retail group Agrokor, he said that the United States wanted to see a proper settlement that would take into account Croatia’s economic and national security interests as a NATO ally.

Commenting on the situation in central and eastern Europe, he said that the United States and its allies were very much involved in issues that concern the region.

“We are very much aware of the fact that a strategic rivalry is happening in that area. China and Russia are very active in central and eastern Europe,” said Mitchell, mentioning in that context the Chinese initiative “China+16”, which brings together China and 16 central and eastern European countries.

He warned that China was using the so-called debt-trap diplomacy as a means of influence that could be used in the future, and that Russia was also present and exerted pressure in the area of energy supply.

“My message is that the West must take that rivalry very seriously,” Mitchell said, adding that the United States, the EU, and NATO had to become strongly diplomatically involved with regard to central and eastern European countries, both those in the EU and outside of it.

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