The State Department announced in a Congressional report that it would not impose sanctions on the company overseeing the construction of the pipeline from Russia to Germany, Nord Stream 2. It was motivated by national security reasons. The decision drew criticism from US lawmakers.
In a report submitted Wednesday to Congress, the State Department asserted that Nord Stream 2 AG and its CEO Matthias Warnig were involved in activities subject to sanctions under US law. But he made it clear to withdraw from it “for reasons of national security.”
“It’s a blind shot.”
“The Biden administration said the Nord Stream 2 containment is a blind shot now that more than 90 percent of the gas pipeline from Russia to Germany has been completed.” Bloomberg noted, referring to an anonymous State Department official.
He said that it would be difficult to stop the project, but Washington would make such attempts, despite the diminished chances of stopping the construction of the pipeline. As the official indicated, President Joe Biden wants to avoid confrontation with Germany and other European Union allies who support this project.
“Our opposition to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is unwavering,” Bloomberg quotes. (…) Although we may not always agree, our alliances remain strong and our position is in line with our commitment to strengthening transatlantic ties important to national security. In a statement to Foreign Minister Anthony Eggo Blinken.
The head of US diplomacy has argued over the administration’s commitment to energy security in Europe, “in line with the president’s commitment to rebuilding relationships with allies and partners in Europe.”
Bloomberg recalls that construction of the pipeline began under the administration of former President Donald Trump in 2018. It has become a major source of contention between the United States and its European allies, especially Germany.
The report said that the imposition of sanctions “will negatively affect the United States’ relations with Germany, the European Union, allies and other European partners.” It justifies the need for close cooperation in combating the Covid-19 pandemic and countering the policies of Russia, China, and Iran.
According to the document, the Foreign Ministry imposed sanctions on four Russian ships, including the Akademik Cherskiy, which began laying pipes for the project in Danish waters in April. It has also spread to five other Russian entities, including the Russian Maritime Rescue Service.
According to analysts, while maintaining the current pace of construction, Nord Stream 2 will be completed by the end of this year, if not earlier.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas described the US decision to withdraw some of the sanctions imposed on Nord Stream 2 as “constructive.” He confirmed that Germany would continue talks with Washington to ease concerns about the project.
Bloomberg emphasized that Germany pressured the Americans to give up their opposition to the project, arguing that universal coverage was too important to devote to a “commercial project”.
Capitol lawmakers criticized the administration’s decision to waive sanctions against Nord Stream 2 AG and the company’s president, Matthias Warnig.
Democrat Bob Menendez, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Biden “must do everything in his power to achieve what the Trump administration has failed to do in four years: to forever halt completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.”
A threat to the interests of the United States
Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen described the pipeline completion as a “threat to US security interests and the stability of US partners in the region.”
The administration must fulfill its obligations to Congress. She stressed that every available option must be used to prevent the pipeline from completing construction.
James Rich, an influential Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, spoke in the same vein.
He estimated that the administration’s decision to withdraw from the sanctions imposed on Nord Stream 2 AG and company president Matthias Warnig, referring to the national interests of the United States, was simply wrong.
Main Image Source: Nord Stream 2 / Paul Langerock
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