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Washington and Berlin reach agreement on Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline

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The United States on Wednesday announced an agreement with the German government to end its dispute over the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, connecting Russia to Germany. Sanctions are notably planned against Moscow if Moscow “tries to use energy as a weapon”.

Agreement in sight between the United States and Germany. Washington announced Wednesday, July 21, that it had reached an agreement with Berlin to end their dispute over Nord Stream 2, the controversial gas pipeline connecting Russia to Germany. But opponents of Joe Biden denounce a “gift” to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

This agreement, expected, must be presented in detail later Wednesday, confirmed the number three of the American diplomacy, Victoria Nuland. However, she unveiled the main provisions: possible sanctions against Moscow in the event of a slippage, and a commitment by Washington and Berlin to jointly plead for the ten-year extension of measures guaranteeing the transit through Ukraine of Russian gas.

“If Russia were to attempt to use energy as a weapon or to commit other aggressive acts against Ukraine, Germany commits, in this agreement with us, to take measures at the level national, and to push for effective measures at European level, including sanctions to limit Russian export capacities to Europe in the energy sector, ”she said.

“The other aspect of this agreement is support for the extension of the transit agreement between Russia and Ukraine which ends in 2024. We will advocate and pressure (…) for ten more years, ”she added.

>> To see, our Reporters: Investigation into Nord Stream 2, the gas pipeline of discord

Ukraine must remain “transit country” for Russian gas

The United States has strongly opposed, and for years, Nord Stream 2 – which is almost finished. They deplore that the gas pipeline passes through the Baltic Sea, but not through Ukraine, threatening to deprive this country of part of the income collected on the transit, but also of a means of pressure on Moscow.

Joe Biden, however, ended up giving up imposing sanctions to block the project, believing that it was too late and that it was better to bet on cooperation with Germany, which is favorable to Nord Stream 2.

This reversal has earned the American president criticism from Republicans, but also from many tenors of his own Democratic camp.

During her visit to Washington last week, Angela Merkel reaffirmed that Ukraine should remain “a country of transit” for Russian gas, while Joe Biden said he shared with the German Chancellor “the conviction that it should not be not let Russia use energy as a weapon to coerce or threaten its neighbors “. Statements that laid the groundwork for the agreement announced Wednesday.

Volodymyr Zelensky received by Joe Biden at the end of August

Without waiting for the details, the Republicans had denounced this compromise on Tuesday. “We always knew that Biden shared Putin’s bed, now they are cuddling”, taunted, provocatively, the Trumpist senator Ted Cruz, evoking a “gift” allowing “Russian dictators” to “blackmail energy “to Europe.

Victoria Nuland replied Wednesday in the Senate that the Biden administration had inherited a Nord Stream 2 “more than 90% completed”, and therefore impossible to stop, while in 2016, when Donald Trump arrived at the White House , the United States was, according to her, “on the way to blocking the pipeline”.

Senator Jim Risch, for his part, deplored that the agreement with Berlin was “negotiated without the participation and consent of key allies such as Ukraine and Poland”.

The number three of the US State Department had to deny reports that Washington had pressured the Ukrainian authorities to silence their critics. “None of us put pressure on Ukraine”, assured Victoria Nuland, referring to “close consultations with the Ukrainians on every aspect of this agreement”.

The White House immediately announced that President Biden would receive his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky on August 30.

With AFP

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