US President Joe Biden called for continued work on a US-German agreement on the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline, amid preparations in Berlin to form a new government.
Biden stressed the importance of continuing to work on the implementation of the agreement, the White House said on Saturday after Biden’s talks with caretaker Chancellor Angela Merkel and Olaf Scholz, the finance minister who is likely to succeed her. The conversation took place on the sidelines of the G20 summit, attended by Merkel and Scholz in a show of continuity.
Biden underscored the importance of continued work to implement the US-Germany Joint Statement on Support for Ukraine and European Energy Security, to ensure that Russia cannot manipulate natural gas flows for harmful political purposes, the White House said.
The agreement provides for sanctions to be imposed on Russia if the pipeline is used as a geopolitical “weapon.”
Nord Stream 2 runs from Vyborg in Russia through the Baltic Sea to Lubmin near Greifswald in the north-eastern German state of Mecklenburg Vorpommern.
Washington has argued the pipeline increases European dependency on Russia.
Scholz, a Social Democrat, is currently in negotiations with the Greens and the pro-business FDP to form a coalition government after last month’s elections. The parties have differing views on the pipeline, with the Greens against it, while the FDP is skeptical.
Alongside energy, Biden, Merkel and Scholz also discussed efforts to provide continued humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. Biden thanked Germany for hosting 35,000 Afghans as they relocated to the US.
He also congratulated Merkel on more than 16 years of leadership on issues of importance to the two countries’ shared security and prosperity and to the transatlantic relationship.
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