German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has warned the United States not to interfere with the completion of the Russian-led Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, stressing that Europe has the right to choose its own energy sources.
“Sanctions between partners are definitely the wrong way to go,” Maas said during a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, adding that any attempt to prevent the pipeline from completion would be a violation of his country’s sovereignty.
“Ultimately, it remains our sovereign decision where we get our energy from. No country has the right to dictate Europe’s energy policy with threats. That won’t be successful.”
On Monday, Maas said he expressed his “displeasure” to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after US lawmakers threatened “crushing legal and economic sanctions” against a German firm involved in the energy initiative.
German media reported last month that the US Department of State, the Treasury Department and the Department of Energy warned European contractors about the potential consequences of participating in the pipeline’s construction.
Washington has been vocal about its fierce opposition to Nord Stream 2, which was temporarily halted last year after the US threatened vessels involved in the project with sanctions.
US President Donald Trump recently complained that Germany was being ungrateful by pursuing energy deals with Russia.
“Germany pays Russia billions of dollars a year for Energy, and we are supposed to protect Germany from Russia. What’s that all about?” the president tweeted.
The $11 billion pipeline, owned by Russia’s Gazprom, will double the amount of Russian natural gas transported to Germany. Moscow has denounced Washington’s posturing as unfair competition and vowed to develop a new strategy to complete the pipeline if the US moves forward with sanctions.
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