Published: Fri, May 18, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Trump Pressures Germany to Drop Russian Pipeline Trade Deal

Trump Pressures Germany to Drop Russian Pipeline Trade Deal

A close ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel issued a stark warning to the United States about the risks of placing "America First", accusing Washington of seeking to block a planned Russia-Germany gas pipeline to shore up its own exports.

"That means that any pipeline project, and there are multiple pipeline projects in the world that are potentially covered, is at an elevated sanctions risk", Bloomberg cited Oudkirk as saying.

Congress passed the legislation in response to Russia's intervention in Ukraine and its suspected USA election interference, giving the government authority to act against any Russian energy projects including Nord Stream 2, the envoy said.

The $11 billion project is planned to carry 55 billion cubic meters of gas annually 1,230 kilometers under the Baltic Sea from Russian Federation to northern Germany after it becomes operational in early 2020.

According to Altmaier, the European Union must ensure that Ukraine will remain a gas even after the new pipeline will be built.

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Earlier, the United States also threatened European companies with sanctions if they did not curtail their activities in Iran after Washington renewed the sanctions regime against Tehran. Up to now Turkey received Russian gas transited via Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria.

"The new project would permit new technologies to be placed along the pipeline route, and that is a threat", she said.

Trump's move could be aimed at expediting those trade negotiations and increasing US exports of liquefied natural gas to Europe, according to some experts, although White House officials have denied such objectives. The pipeline, to be built by 2022, is aimed at reducing reliance on Russian gas.

While Merkel has taken a hard line on what it considers hostile Russian actions in recent years-from the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria to the chemical attack on a former Russian spy in Britain-Germany badly needs to secure its gas supply and Berlin has calculated that Nord Stream 2 offers the best deal.

Gazprom's Western partners are energy companies Uniper, Wintershall, Engie, Austria's OMV and Anglo-Dutch group Shell.

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