Washington, Dec 11: US Assistant Secretary for Energy Resources Frank Fannon on Monday urged European nations to abandon their cooperation with Russia on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
Fannon made the remarks when briefing the media on European energy security and the Nord Stream 2 pipeline via teleconference.
Fannon said that in his just-concluded trip to Europe, he talked with officials in Croatia, Hungary and Czech Republic about "the importance of diversification of energy sources, supplies, and routes to strengthen energy security, to do so in recognition of our shared values of our transatlantic alliance, and to do so away from Russian dependency."Russia's recent naval confrontation with Ukraine offered "a good time to spotlight our diplomacy on transatlantic energy security," he added.
Speaking of the Nord Stream 2 and an expanded Turkish Stream pipeline, the U.S. diplomat said they "seek to deepen dependence rather than strengthen security."They are not commercial projects; they are political tools," he said. "Through Nord Stream 2 Russia seeks to increase its leverage of the West while severing Ukraine from Europe."The U.S. Congress was reportedly considering to take actions in the coming days against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, such as leveling sanctions against it. A vote on a non-binding resolution against the building of the pipeline was possible.
"We anticipate that Congress' resolve on this issue and going after the Russian energy exports sector will only increase subsequent to that," Fannon said."We've been monitoring the bill," Fannon added.
Speaking of Germany, which has been reluctant to abandon its cooperation with Russia on the pipeline, Fannon noted: "We oppose Nord Stream 2 and we would call on all parties to exit the project."
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told the media earlier this month that his nation would not withdraw its political support for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
Steffen Ebert, German press spokesman of Nord Stream 2, also said earlier in November that the construction of about 100 km of gas pipelines on German territory for the Nord Stream 2 project was completed.For his part, Viktor Zubkov, the chairman of Russian energy giant Gazprom, said Friday that the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline had been proceeding as scheduled.The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is the second gas pipeline that Russian sponsored to build to supply gas to Europe via the Baltic seabed, bypassing Ukraine, Belarus, Poland and other eastern European and Baltic countries.
The project is planned, constructed and subsequently operated by a joint venture called Nord Stream 2 AG which embraces Gazprom and five European companies. It is designed to deliver 55 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas annually to the European Union via the Baltic Sea and Germany. The project is expected to be put into operation by the end of 2019. (UNI-Xinjua)