The U.S. may use its leverage in the IMF favoring Greece if the country backs away from joining the Russian-backed natural gas project, the Turkish Stream, to carry Russian gas to Europe, according to an advisor to the U.S. Energy Security Council.
"As the leading force in the IMF, the U.S. would expect that a more favorable treatment of Greece would be rewarded with the backing off from a project that is in Moscow's best interest," Gal Luft said.
Greece is in talks with the EU and IMF to work out a new loan for the financial crisis-hit country to pay its debts, while disagreements between the sides have not yet been resolved.
Negotiations on Wednesday broke down over a number of issues that have dogged progress throughout, including the fraught question of the size of the primary surplus that the Greek government is being asked to maintain.
Greece has until the end of the month to repay about $2 billion in loan instalments to the International Monetary Fund. It is not clear whether the government can make the payments
Greek is dependent on the flexibility and the goodwill of the IMF and this will increase Washington's pressure on Athens as it hurries to complete the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, TAP, rather than the alternative Turkish Stream, according to Luft.
Meanwhile, Greek Energy Minister, Panagiotis Lafazanis, announced on Monday that his country is willing to invest $2 billion for the construction of the Turkish Stream despite Western pressure.
Another expert, Dr Slawomir Raszewski, at King's College London's European Center for Energy and Resource Security, said TAP is safer than the Turkish Stream as it is already an ongoing project.
However, the TAP project can also be threatened if Greece fails to pay its debt due to the collapse of talks with its creditors, according to Raszewski.
"If there is any problem in paying the debt, what is likely to happen is the postponement of the project if the companies involved in this project find it difficult to finance it," Raszewski added.
For the Turkish Stream, Raszewski said that the dispute over Ukraine which resulted in sanctions imposed on Russia by the EU would be the main problem, rather than Greek debts.
By Furkan Naci Top & Emre Gurkan Abay