Dispute over Nord Stream 2: US sanctions are not off the table yet

Dispute over Nord Stream 2
US sanctions are not off the table yet

In May, the US government under Joe Biden waived sanctions against the operating company and its managing director in the dispute over the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline. The federal government welcomes the decision. But now the US Secretary of State Blinken is adopting a different tone.

In the dispute with the federal government over the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, the USA continues to keep sanctions open. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made it clear to the “Spiegel” that the sanctions against the operating company of Nord Stream 2 and its boss will only remain in effect if the federal government is willing to make concessions. “We have suspended sanctions, but the suspension can also be reversed,” says Blinken.

“We have to submit another report to the US Congress in about a month,” said the US Secretary of State. “So I hope and expect that our talks will bear fruit.” Blinken emphasizes again that the US government has nothing to do with the pipeline project. President Joe Biden has said “for a long time that the pipeline is a bad idea and that it may become an economic and strategic instrument of constraint in the hands of Russia”.

Nevertheless, the US government recently waived sanctions against the operating company of the pipeline, which is also controversial within the EU, and its German managing directors. On Wednesday, Blinken and Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas announced after a meeting in Berlin that the pipeline dispute should be settled by August if possible.

In an interview with the ARD “Tagesthemen”, Blinken confirmed on Thursday that it was “very important” to arrive at a result together. It must be ensured “that Russia cannot use this pipeline to put other states under pressure; that the Russians cannot use this as a weapon against Ukraine, other countries in Eastern Europe or even against Europe as a whole, because the pipeline allows the Dependence on Russian oil and gas unfortunately continues to increase “.

Explore ways of working together

At the same time, the US Secretary of State expressly committed himself to multilateralism and partnership with other countries in the “Issues of the Day”. The German and US governments shared the conviction that “the challenges we and our citizens face every day can best be tackled if we explore ways of working together.” Conversely, it is the case that “no country – neither the USA nor Germany – can single-handedly deal with the pandemic, with climate change and its consequences, and with the changes brought about by new technologies”.

With the almost completed pipeline, Russian natural gas will in future be brought to Germany on a much larger scale than before. Washington fears that Germany and Europe will become increasingly dependent on Moscow and damage Ukraine, a gas transit country.