Biden and Merkel agree that Russia can’t use the Nord Stream pipeline as a weapon

U.S. President Joe Biden and Chancellor Angela Merkel will maintain a joint press convention within the East Room of the White Home in Washington, DC on July 15, 2021.

Saul Loeb | AFP | photographs

President Joe Biden and Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed on Thursday that they’ll oppose any efforts by Russia to make use of the controversial Nord Stream pipeline as a weapon in opposition to neighboring states like Ukraine.

The completion of Nord Stream 2, an $ 11 billion fuel pipeline that might lead instantly from Russia below the Baltic Sea to Germany, has lengthy been inflicting rigidity between Washington and Berlin, in any other case shut NATO allies.

“Whereas I reiterated my considerations about Nord Stream 2, Chancellor Merkel and I completely agree in our conviction that Russia should not use vitality as a weapon to pressure or threaten its neighbors,” mentioned Biden.

“My opinion on Nord Stream 2 has been identified for a while. Good pals could disagree, however by the point I turned president it was 90% full and sanctions did not appear to make any sense, ”he mentioned.

The president waived sanctions in Could in opposition to the Switzerland-based firm Nord Stream 2 AG, which operates the pipeline mission, and its German CEO. Nord Stream 2 AG belongs to the Russian state vitality firm Gazprom.

Biden has spoken out in opposition to the completion of the pipeline, fearing that Moscow may achieve extra political affect over different European nations and extra management over vitality reserves.

Specifically, the US feared that the pipeline would threaten the safety and economic system of Ukraine by depriving it of vital revenues from fuel transportation.

The route of a deliberate new fuel pipeline from Russia to Europe.

Merkel supported the pipeline, however careworn on Thursday that Nord Stream won’t change Ukraine’s transit pipelines for pure fuel.

“Our concept is and can stay that Ukraine stays a transit nation for pure fuel, that Ukraine, like every other nation on the earth, has the correct to territorial sovereignty,” Merkel mentioned on the joint press convention.

“We are going to act actively if Russia doesn’t respect this proper of Ukraine as a transit nation,” mentioned Merkel.

Biden mentioned he and Merkel requested their groups to evaluate sensible measures that may be taken to find out whether or not Europe’s vitality safety will probably be “strengthened or weakened” on the idea of Russian measures.

The pipeline was one among a number of world points the 2 heads of state and authorities addressed on Thursday within the White Home throughout Merkel’s seemingly final go to to Washington earlier than resigning from workplace.

The 2 heads of state and authorities additionally introduced a local weather and vitality partnership that, in keeping with Biden, will assist vitality safety and the event of sustainable vitality in rising international locations in Central Europe and Ukraine.

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Biden and Merkel additionally signed a pact known as the Washington Declaration, which reaffirms the US and Germany’s dedication to democratic ideas and descriptions a shared imaginative and prescient to handle world issues guided by these values.

“Our two nations perceive the necessity to show that democracies can meet the wants of our individuals within the second quarter of the 21st century,” mentioned Biden.

Different points raised by the 2 heads of state and authorities included China, local weather change, safety points in Afghanistan and the battle in opposition to Covid-19. Biden mentioned the US is trying into when it could elevate journey restrictions associated to Covid which are banning most Europeans from coming into the US, a difficulty Merkel raised earlier than the joint press convention.

Merkel’s go to is in stark distinction to former President Donald Trump’s notorious clashes together with her throughout his tenure, which contributed to the deterioration of relations between the 2 nations.

Trump publicly known as on Merkel for failing to satisfy the spending goal of two% of GDP set on the 2014 NATO summit in Wales, claiming that Germany owed the US “monumental sums of cash”. from Germany.

In response, Merkel usually pushed again Trump’s rhetoric and criticized political choices corresponding to his journey ban, which focused residents of a number of primarily Muslim international locations.

Biden has made it a precedence to restore relations with Germany and different European nations. Merkel is the primary European chief to satisfy with Biden within the White Home, and her go to serves as a closing farewell to the US as she nears the tip of a historic political profession that spanned almost 16 years.

Merkel’s go to ends with a dinner hosted by President and First Woman Jill Biden within the state eating room. Vice-President Kamala Harris, the second gentleman Dough Emhoff and others who strengthen Germany’s relations with the USA will attend the dinner

“I do know that the partnership between Germany and the USA will probably be additional strengthened on the muse that you just helped to construct,” Biden instructed Merkel.

“However personally, I’ve to inform you, I’ll miss you at our summit, I actually will. Thanks once more for the journey, for the productive assembly immediately and in your friendship,” he mentioned.

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