The Nord Stream 2 project continues to spark discussions between Germany and the USA. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has now warned Russia could be power politics with the pipeline.
In the dispute over the planned German-Russian gas pipeline Nord Stream 2, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that Russia could use energy as a lever of power over Ukraine. “Our goal is to ensure that Russia does not use energy as a means of coercion, as a weapon against Ukraine or anyone else in Europe,” said Blinken on Wednesday after a meeting with Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) – his inaugural visit to the German government.
The US continues to believe that the pipeline is a geopolitical project by Russia that threatens Europe’s energy security. In view of the difference of opinion between Washington and Berlin on this point, Blinken emphasized at the same time: “It happens from time to time among friends.”
Biden gave up resistance to the project
Maas said the aim was to achieve results “which Washington can support”. There are a multitude of possibilities and approaches that are being discussed. The planned visit to the USA by Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) in July is a suitable time to get results. In addition to Maas, Blinken also wanted to meet the Chancellor on Wednesday and take part in a Libya conference.
For years the US has been against the construction of the Baltic Sea pipeline, which is supposed to pump gas from Russia to Germany bypassing Ukraine. Nevertheless, in May the new administration of US President Joe Biden gave up its years of resistance to the project and waived sanctions against the operating company – also out of consideration for relations with Germany.
Since then, talks have been going on between Germany and the USA about how to proceed. In essence, it is about how Ukraine, as the previous transit country, can secure long-term income, since it is dependent on the Russian billions in payments for the gas transfer. The corresponding contract between Russia and Ukraine is limited to 2024.
Signal to German companies in China
During his visit to Berlin, Blinken also spoke out on the suppression of the Uyghurs in China and called for people not to benefit from forced labor. “It is up to all of us to do everything we can to prevent products of possible forced labor from entering our countries,” said the US Secretary of State
According to human rights organizations, at least one million members of the Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities are detained in detention camps in the northwestern Chinese province of Xinjiang, and there are repeated reports of forced labor. The German car manufacturer Volkswagen is active in the region.
It is not about “pushing back or holding back” China at the international level, emphasized Blinken. Rather, his country is striving for “open, fair, rule-based” cooperation. But human rights are also important. “Technologies and products that suppress people or curtail their fundamental rights should not be exported,” demanded the US Secretary of State.