By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - The US and Germany have reached an agreement on the controversial Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline that will see Berlin take extensive measures to assuage US concerns, the countries announced Wednesday.
In exchange, the Biden administration will not impose congressionally mandated sanctions on entities linked to the project after a senior administration official said the US determined that the economic penalties "would not stop the pipeline," which is roughly 98% complete.
The official spoke to reporters on a conference call on condition of anonymity.
The agreement was announced just days after German Chancellor Angela Merkel traveled to Washington to meet US President Joe Biden.
The US under successive presidents has warned that the pipeline is a bad deal for Germany and the wider EU, and poses the risk that Russia might cut off gas supplies that currently run through Ukraine.
Under the pact, Berlin agreed to appoint a special envoy to help extend the existing gas contract that it has with Russia "well beyond" its current expiration in 2024, the official said, and would take action at the national and EU levels should Russia attempt to use energy resources as a weapon against Kyiv.
"Should Russia attempt to use energy as a weapon or commit further aggressive acts against Ukraine, Germany will take action at the national level and press for effective measures at the European level, including sanctions to limit Russian export capabilities to Europe in the energy sector," the agreement said.
The pipeline will carry gas from Russia to Germany, which will then be distributed throughout the European Union