US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that Russia should not use energy as a weapon.

On the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, which is set to increase Russian gas supply to Europe, especially Germany, Blinken told reporters he sees the project as a threat to European energy security.

Speaking at a joint news conference with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Berlin, where he came for a Conference on Libya, Blinken said Russia should not use energy as a weapon, adding that the Nord Stream 2 threatens the security of neighboring Ukraine.

Germany has a different perspective on this issue, added Blinken.

He stressed that Germany and the US would continue to stand together against Russia’s dangerous and provocative actions on issues such as attacks on Ukraine’s territory, imprisoning Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny, and spreading disinformation to Western democracies.

On the conference in Berlin, he said they are working for a stable and secure Libya, explaining: “We have an opportunity that we have not had in recent years to really help Libya move forward as a safe, secure, sovereign country.”

German foreign minister

Maas said he is happy for the US to return to the international and multilateral arena – referring to the Trump years, when US alliances were neglected or attacked – adding that there is a need to stand shoulder to shoulder at the transatlantic level.

“We want sustainable peace and stability in Libya” as the goal of Wednesday’s conference, he said.

The conference will focus on three points: Dec. 24 elections in Libya, withdrawal of all foreign forces and mercenaries, and the consolidation of security forces in the country.

He expressed gratitude for the active involvement of the US in this area, adding that they want to use the opportunity to support Libya’s economic development.

Negotiations on nuclear deal with Iran

On talks with Iran to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, Maas stated that intensive talks were held in Vienna, and progress was made, but some difficulties remain.

He said the situation was very complicated after last weekend’s presidential election in Iran.

Emphasizing that no one is satisfied with the current situation in Ukraine – with Russia occupying Crimea, and Russian-backed separatist violence in the country’s east – he said that the Minsk Agreement should be implemented and a new dynamism is needed in the Normandy Format.

“Thus, we are working to have a meeting at the level of foreign ministers in the Normandy Format. It is very good and helpful to have the support of the US here.”

On the sanctions taken by the US, Canada, the EU, and UK against Belarus, amid its repression of opposition figures, Maas said: “If we take responsibility together, we have a much better chance to have our values respected and implemented worldwide.”

Underlining the importance of developing a common strategy on China, he stated that the EU has stepped up sanctions on China for human rights violations in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, the site of reported repression of Muslim Uyghurs.

*Writing by Seda Sevencan

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