BLINKEN KEEPS U.S. PRESSURE ON GERMANY OVER NORD STREAM 2
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken used his first visit to Brussels in his new post to pressure Germany to scrap the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and threatened fresh sanctions on involved businesses, Ella Joyner and Ansgar Haase reported for Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa).
Blinken met "briefly" with his German counterpart, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, at the sidelines of NATO foreign ministers' talks in Brussels, State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
"Blinken underscored the US commitment to work with Allies and partners to counter Russian efforts to undermine our collective security and, in that vein, emphasized US opposition to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline," he added.
The German Foreign Office, in a tweet, did not mention Nord Stream, but spoke of "a very good exchange."
At a press conference before NATO talks, Blinken said that new US President Joe Biden has been "very clear in saying that he believes the pipeline is a bad idea, bad for Europe, bad for the United States."
The pipeline project is about 90 percent built and nearing completion but has been hampered by US sanctions.
In a warning to businesses involved in the project, Blinken stressed again on Tuesday that a US law passed in 2019 requires sanctions on participating entities. US officials argue that the pipeline, which is supposed to transport 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Russia to Germany each year, will make Europe too dependent on Russian energy supplies.
The pipeline would also bypass Ukraine, depriving Russia's neighbor and geopolitical competitor of the transit fees it receives for transporting Russian gas to the rest of Europe. Supporters of the gas pipeline, on the other hand, have long accused the US of undermining the project to increase sales of their liquid gas in Europe.