"Russia in recent years has lost much of trust. But we still need Russia as a partner in foreign policy. Whether to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, which Russia created by its actions, violating international law, or in conflicts in Syria, and in Yemen, where we have made progress recently, " Maas said addressing a meeting of the German Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations.
Nord Stream 2
Commenting on Nord Stream 2, the foreign minister brushed off criticism from several Eastern European countries and stressed that it was not exclusively a project of Germany and Russia.
"The scepticism of our partners from Central Eastern Europe is great, and discussions around the Nord Stream 2 confirm this. We take their concerns seriously. But this does not change anything in our position that the Nord Stream —2 is not exclusively the German-Russian project. We tellabout this to critics of this project in Europe, as well as in Washington," Maas said addressing a meeting of the German Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations.
Earlier, European Commissioner Guenther Oettinger stated that the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to deliver Russian natural gas to Germany was already underway and no US threats could stop it.
Nord Stream 2 is a joint venture of Russia's gas giant Gazprom and five European companies. It aims to deliver 55 billion cubic meters (1.9 trillion cubic feet) of Russian natural gas annually to the European Union via the Baltic Sea and Germany, and is expected to be put into operation by the end of 2019.