Merkel doubts Biden meeting will solve gas pipeline dispute

German Chancellor Angela Merkel doubts the dispute between her country and the United States over a nearly completed gas pipeline from Russia will be fully resolved at a meeting with President Joe Biden this week

Merkel said she will discuss the issue with Biden at a White House meeting Thursday, but added: “I don't know whether the papers will be fully finalized, so to speak. I believe rather not.”

“But these will be important talks for developing a common position,” she added.

Germany is keen to increase its use of natural gas as it completes the shutdown of its nuclear power plants next year and phases out the use of heavily polluting coal by 2038.

Merkel's comments to reporters in Berlin came ahead of a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who has warned that Nord Stream 2 poses a threat to his country's energy security. Should Russia route all of its gas around Ukraine in future, the country might be cut off from the supplies it needs, putting it at further risk of being pressured by Moscow.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and supports separatists in Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland of Donbas.

Merkel said she took Ukraine's concerns seriously and that Germany and the European Union would use their weight in negotiations with Russia to ensure the agreements are extended.

“We have promised this to Ukraine and we will stick to that. I keep my promises and I believe that is true also for any future German chancellor,” she said.

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