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The new U.S. Administration has signaled for the first time that it could be willing to discuss with Germany the lifting of the American sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project if Germany offers solutions to ensure Europe’s energy security, German business daily Handelsblatt reports, citing a U.S. official involved in the talks.
According to Handelsblatt, the U.S. has signaled readiness to talk about the easing of the sanctions against the controversial pipeline project from Russia to Germany, led by Russia’s gas giant Gazprom. In exchange, the U.S. expects Germany to propose ways to protect Europe’s energy security as well as Ukraine’s interests.
The Germans have to propose a package of solutions, otherwise the U.S. may not be able to get the issue with Nord Stream 2 out of the way, the U.S. official involved in the talks told Handelsblatt.
Germany has always looked at the project from an economic standpoint, while the United States, several European countries, including the Baltic states, Poland, and the European Union (EU), have expressed concern about Russia using gas sales and its gas monopoly Gazprom as a political tool.
In recent months, the U.S. has been broadening the sanctions against service providers and those funding vessels involved in the construction of Nord Stream 2 in a fresh attempt to prevent the project from completing. There is still a stretch of the pipeline route to be laid in the sea, but the U.S. is now targeting anyone helping the project’s completion in any way.
Even Russian gas giant Gazprom has warned investors that the Nord Stream 2 project could be suspended or entirely discontinued due to extraordinary circumstances, including “political pressure.”
Meanwhile, France has urged Germany to scrap the Nord Stream 2 project altogether over the arrest of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and the Russian authorities’ crackdown on Navalny’s supporters.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.