June 01, 2021 – 18:49
Germany and the United States are holding talks in a bid to resolve the dispute over the North Stream 2 pipeline. Talks are being held in Washington, said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. He said it was in Germany’s interest to reach an agreement with the United States.
“It will not be easy and it may not happen quickly, but I am confident that we will succeed in reaching a solution,” Maas said without elaborating.
About 95 percent of the pipeline construction work from Russia has been completed and the entire project is expected to be finalized in September. Its construction had sparked clashes between the administration of former US President Donald Trump and Berlin. Since taking office in January, US President Joe Biden has been working to improve relations with Europe.
German media reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has sent her two closest aides to Washington to work on a compromise deal ahead of US President Joe Biden’s visit to Europe in mid-June.
US officials have warned that the pipeline will make Europe more dependent on Russian energy supplies and bypass Ukraine, which relies on gas transit tariffs.
The German government has refused to suspend the project, saying it is an internal matter. Biden has said that the Germans are aware of American concerns.
During his stay in Europe, he is expected to meet with Chancellor Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin. On May 19, the Biden administration sanctioned several companies and ships for their work on the North Stream 2 project, but lifted sanctions on the company Nord Stream 2 AG behind the project and its chief executive, Matthias Warnig, a close ally Putinit.
The state-controlled Russian energy company Gazprom is a major shareholder in Nord Stream 2 AG, based in Switzerland.