Maas: Germany will not back down in US Nord Stream 2 dispute

Berlin does not plan to back down in the dispute with the United States over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told dpa.

"We do not need to talk about European sovereignty if that is understood as us doing everything in future the way Washington wants us to," Maas said in comments looking ahead to Joe Biden taking over the US presidency from Donald Trump on 20 January.

Berlin is seeking a new start with Washington under Biden after relations deteriorated during Trump's term.

But there will still be points of contention going forward, Maas said. "The German government will not change its stance on Nord Stream 2," Maas said. "The important thing is that we are aligned on the central strategic and geopolitical issues, that we are on the same side of the field," he said.

US policy on the matter is not expected to shift with Biden's inauguration - the Democratic president-elect rejects the project, as does Trump.

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is to carry Russian-sourced gas directly to Germany, the EU's top economy, via a route under the Baltic Sea similar to the currently operational Nord Stream line.

The US has condemned the pipeline as threatening the security of NATO allies in the EU by increasing dependence on Russia and has threatened new sanctions.

The pipeline was recently reported to be 94% complete.

Supporters of the pipeline project accuse the US of only wanting to be able to better sell their own gas to Europe.

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