US, Germany to announce Nord Stream 2 pipeline deal in coming days

WASHINGTON, July 19 (Reuters) – The United States and Germany are expected to announce in the coming days an agreement resolving their long-standing dispute over Russia’s $ 11 billion Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, have announced Monday sources familiar with the matter.

US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel failed to resolve their disputes over the submarine pipeline when they met last week, but agreed that Moscow should not be allowed to use energy as a weapon against its neighbors.

A deal is now in sight after vigorous talks continue between US and German officials over US concerns that the pipeline, which is 98% complete, will increase Europe’s dependence on Russian gas and could deprive Ukraine of the transit fees it now collects on gas pumped through an existing pipeline.

“It’s looking good,” said one of the sources, who requested anonymity as the talks are still ongoing. “We expect these conversations to result in a resolution in the coming days.”

A second source said the talks indicated that the two sides were on the verge of a deal that would avoid the resumption of US sanctions currently lifted against Nord Stream 2 AG, the company behind the pipeline and its chief executive.

The Biden administration concluded in May that Nord Stream 2 AG and its CEO had engaged in sanctionable behavior. But Biden lifted the sanctions to allow time to reach an agreement and continue to re-establish ties with Germany that have strongly frayed under the administration of former President Donald Trump.

Details of the deal were not immediately available, but a key element will be increased investments from the two countries aimed at supporting Ukraine’s energy transformation, energy efficiency and energy security, they said. indicated the sources.

It was not immediately clear whether the two countries would announce significant government investments or whether they would seek to leverage private investments in Ukraine. (Reporting by Andrea Shalal; editing by Heather Timmons and Chizu Nomiyama)

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