Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Nord Stream 2: Biden clarifies statements concerning sanctions

The report from the renowned news agency Axios hit, not only in the US capital Washington: President Joe Biden waived sanctions against the pipeline company Nord Stream 2, registered in Switzerland, and its managing director, the German Putin intimate partner Matthias Warnig.

So far, Biden had criticized the underwater pipeline, which is supposed to connect Russia directly to the German Baltic Sea coast, as a "bad deal for Europe". The tube increases the dependence of the Western European allies on Russia and helps to finance an aggressive Russian expansion policy. This is what the US has argued so far. Now, however, in his quarterly report to Congress, Biden seemed to relent.

The German government had always defended the project led by the Russian Gazprom group - and also fought with Washington. US sanctions threats against German project partners were sharply rejected as unlawful interference in German and European sovereignty.

Now Biden's statements seemed to point to relaxation: The statement by the US President was seen as "a step towards us," said Federal Foreign Minister Heiko MaaƟ.

People in Russia also listened: If the media report is correct, then "there is a hint of normality in American politics," said Vice Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in Moscow, according to the Interfax agency. The outrage among the pipeline opponents in the Republican Party in Washington was correspondingly loud.

The top Republican in the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Michael McCaul, said that if the Axios report were correct, it would be an indication that the Biden administration never really wanted to prevent the pipeline.

But Biden was misunderstood, as the circumstances of his latest statement suggest. The US president had simply responded to repeated, persistent inquiries from the Republicans with a clarification regarding the project company Nord Stream 2 itself. But that had never been the target of the US sanctions, not even under Biden's predecessor Trump.

Source: WELT

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