Germany is working with the United States to “mitigate” the negative effects linked to the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline with Russia, said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday, under fire from critics of US elected officials for having renounced decisive sanctions against the project.
Joe Biden’s government decided at the end of May not to sanction the main players in Nord Stream, linking Russia to Germany. Moscow welcomed this decision before its summit between the US president and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin scheduled for June 16 in Geneva. Antony Blinken, criticized by Republican senators but also from his own Democratic camp during a parliamentary hearing, estimated that the new American government had inherited a nearly finished gas pipeline – a “Done deal” impossible to stop. “The worst possible outcome, from our point of view, would have been a completed pipeline construction, the relationship with Germany poisoned, and no incentive for Germany to work with us to mitigate the serious negative consequences.” of this project, he said. “The Germans are now discussing with us, we are actively engaging with them”, he assured.
Maintenance of transit rights
Ukraine particularly feared the construction of Nord Stream 2, which allows Russia to avoid its territory, depriving Kiev of economic benefits linked to transit rights. The Secretary of State explained that one of the options discussed with the European allies of the United States was to guarantee Ukraine the maintenance of transit rights during “many years”. He added that Berlin was discussing with Washington possible measures that could be triggered automatically if Moscow used gas as leverage on Kiev. “We ask our allies and partners to commit a priori to taking measures”, he explained, to avoid messy reactions “If Russia does something wrong”.
Antony Blinken also hinted that, despite the construction of the gas pipeline, Washington was considering measures to make it more difficult to put into operation. “Even once it’s finished, to operate it needs insurance, it needs several permits, and we are watching this closely”, he said.