WORLD / EUROPE
US, Germany reach deal on contentious Nord Stream 2 pipeline issue
Published: Jul 22, 2021 06:23 PM
US Vice President Kamala Harris welcomes German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the Vice President's residence at One Observatory Circle for a working breakfast on Thursday. The potentially most eye-catching item on their agenda is the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline that links Russia to Germany, as the project was sanctioned by the US. Photo: AFP

US Vice President Kamala Harris welcomes German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the Vice President's residence at One Observatory Circle for a working breakfast on Thursday. The potentially most eye-catching item on their agenda is the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline that links Russia to Germany, as the project was sanctioned by the US. Photo: AFP

The US and Germany on Wednesday announced an agreement on the issue of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, an effort to reduce the risk that the contentious project could pose to Ukraine.

The 1,230-kilometer gas pipeline, expected to be completed in August, would bring 55 billion cubic meters of gas annually from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea. A senior State Department official told reporters in a phone briefing that Washington and Berlin had profound differences over the Nord Stream 2, while the allies agreeing on measures to reduce the risk that the project would pose to European energy security and Ukraine.

"Should Russia attempt to use energy as a weapon or commit further aggressive acts against Ukraine, Germany will take action at the national level and press for effective measures at the European level, including sanctions, to limit Russian export capabilities to Europe in the energy sector, including gas," according to a US-Germany joint statement.

Both countries acknowledged that gas transit via Ukraine to continue beyond 2024 serves the interests of Ukraine and Europe, said the statement. "Germany commits to utilize all available leverage to facilitate an extension of up to 10 years to Ukraine's gas transit agreement with Russia." Under their agreement, Germany and the US will also promote at least 1 billion US dollars investment for Ukraine to support its energy transition, efficiency, and security.

"These measures represent a significant commitment by Germany supported by the US, to push back against Russian malign activities and to advance a more secure and sustainable energy future for Ukraine and other frontline NATO and EU countries," said the senior official.

As a sign of support for Kiev, the White House announced earlier in the day that Biden will host Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the White House on August 30. The US has long claimed that the Nord Stream 2 is a geopolitical maneuver by Moscow that will undermine Ukraine's role in transiting energy to Europe and increase European dependence on Russian gas. Germany and Russia insisted that the project is purely commercial.


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