06:34 GMT15 June 2021
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    On Wednesday, US State Department Principal Deputy Spokesperson Jalina Porter signalled the Biden administration's readiness to use all available tools to try and prevent the completion of Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas-exporting pipeline.

    A German lawmaker has urged Berlin to initiate countermeasures against the US over the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project.

    Steffen Kotre, a member of the German parliament's energy committee from the party Alternative for Germany (AfD), said on Wednesday that the situation around Nord Stream 2 remains unclear in light of Washington's latest decision to scrap a number of sanctions against the project's operator.

    Pipe-laying vessel Fortuna leaves the port of Wismar to work on Nord Stream 2 construction
    © Sputnik / Dmitry Lelchuk
    Pipe-laying vessel Fortuna leaves the port of Wismar to work on Nord Stream 2 construction
    "It's common knowledge that the construction of the pipeline is coming to a close. I cannot judge how seriously the US administration has decided to review its position on Nord Stream 2, but I hope this important project will be completed successfully", Kotre stressed.

    At the same time, he added that "given the German government opposing [the] US' aggressive actions against Nord Stream 2 only rhetorically, there is a growing concern the project will not be completed, so it would be politically correct to initiate countersanctions" on Washington by raising customs duties on liquefied natural gas supplies from America, among other things.

    Kotre argued that "if the threat of sanctions from the US administration was really dictated by concern for European energy security, they would have imposed sanctions against the German government long ago".

    According to the lawmaker, a decision by German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government to simultaneously abandon the development of coal and nuclear energy in the country poses a "serious threat to the energy security" of Germany and Europe. In light of this, the Nord Stream 2 project will "help to mitigate the consequences of this move", Kotre underscored.

    Nord Stream 2 'Will Be Completed', German MP Says

    He spoke as fellow AfD member Waldemar Herdt of the Bundestag's foreign affairs committee claimed that by standing up to the US when it comes to Nord Stream 2, Germany has managed to defend its national interests for the first time since the end of the Second World War.

    "It is pointless to pressure Germany; Nord Stream 2 will be completed [because] we have no alternative, [and] the Germans will work with the Russians", Herdt said, adding the project "is not a whim" and that "the German economy needs it".

    "It is less expensive, more ecological, more practical than other energy supply options. There are no arguments against this project, but for Washington's orders: do as you are told", Herdt argued, insisting that if the US pressure does not abate Berlin's foreign policy trajectory may shift toward Russia.

    Washington Waives Sanctions Against Nord Stream 2 Operator

    The remarks came after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that Washington had decided it was "in the national interest" of the US to waive the application of sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG, its CEO Matthias Warnig, and Nord Stream 2 AG's corporate officers.

    US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a joint press conference following meetings with the Icelandic Foreign Minister at the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik, Iceland, May 18, 2021.
    © AFP 2021 / SAUL LOEB
    US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a joint press conference following meetings with the Icelandic Foreign Minister at the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik, Iceland, May 18, 2021.

    Blinken also affirmed that four vessels listed in a State Department report to Congress and involved in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline will be subject to sanctions, along with nine additional ships owned or controlled by the Federal State Budgetary Institution Marine Rescue Service.

    The secretary of state indicated that Washington will "continue to oppose the completion of this project, which would weaken European energy security and that of Ukraine and Eastern flank NATO and EU countries".

    Nord Stream 2 is a joint venture of Russia's energy giant Gazprom and five European partners to construct a twin pipeline that will deliver up to 2 trillion cubic feet of Russian gas to Germany annually under the Baltic Sea.

    The pipeline's construction was suspended in December 2019 after US sanctions forced Swiss company Allseas to withdraw from the project. The process resumed last December and Nord Stream 2 is currently 95% complete.

    Russia views the US sanctions against Nord Stream 2 as an example of unfair competition meant to boost American liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to Europe. The standpoint is echoed by German officials who have consistently defended Nord Stream 2 as a purely economic project in the face of US pressure.

    Related:

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    US-Germany Spat Over Nord Stream 2 'Won't Affect' Bilateral Ties, Secretary of State Blinken Says
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    Pipelayer Akademik Cherskiy Arrives at Nord Stream 2 Construction Site in Danish Waters
    Suez Canal Blockage Strengthens Arguments for Nord Stream 2, Northern Sea Route, Analyst Says
    Tags:
    sanctions, project, gas pipeline, construction, Nord Stream 2, US, Germany, Russia
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