Germany’s foreign minister on Wednesday welcomed the Biden administration’s decision to waive sanctions against entities and individuals involved in a controversial Russian oil pipeline, calling the measure “constructive”. ”.
The United States has long opposed the project, which brings natural gas from Russia to Germany. They have argued that it threatens European energy security and harms allies such as Poland and Ukraine as it ignores its territory.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who spoke with U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Tuesday, said the latest State Department periodic report to Congress lists sanctions against several entities, but also “presidential resignations” to the company that runs the project, Nord Stream 2 AG and its CEO, a German citizen.
“We see this as a constructive step that we will continue to discuss with pleasure with our partners in Washington,” Maas told the Berlin press.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has defended the project and noted that Russian gas is already circulating freely in Europe on other routes, including the existing Nord Stream 1 pipeline under the Baltic Sea to Germany.
Nord Stream 2 is owned by the Russian state-owned company Gazprom, with investments from several European companies. National critics in Germany have argued that the pipeline should be abandoned because of Russia’s treatment of opposition leader Alexey Navalny.
Maas said Germany would discuss with U.S. officials what measures are needed to ensure the waiver remains in place when the next report is submitted in three months.
“We understand that the decision taken in Washington took into account the extraordinarily good relations that have been established with the Biden administration,” he said. “And, of course, we also understand it to indicate that Germany (looks like) an important partner for the United States that can be counted on in the future.”