President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed on Thursday that they will oppose any effort by Russia to use the contentious Nord Stream pipeline as a weapon against neighboring nations such as Ukraine.
The completion of Nord Stream 2, an $11 billion gas pipeline that would run directly to Germany from Russia under the Baltic Sea, has long been a source of tension between Washington and Berlin, otherwise close NATO allies.
“While I reiterated my concerns about Nord Stream 2, Chancellor Merkel and I are absolutely united in our conviction that Russia must not be allowed to use energy as a weapon to coerce or threaten its neighbors,” Biden said.
“My view on Nord Stream 2 has been known for some time. Good friends can disagree, but by the time I became president, it was 90% completed and imposing sanctions did not seem to make any sense,” he said.
The president waived sanctions against Swiss-based company Nord Stream 2 AG, which is running the pipeline project, and its German CEO in May. Nord Stream 2 AG is owned by the Russian state energy company Gazprom.
Biden has opposed the completion of the pipeline over concerns that it would allow Moscow to gain increased political leverage over other European nations and more control over energy reserves.
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