Any attempt by U.S. President Donald Trump at blocking a proposed gas pipeline project between Russia and Germany would be resisted strongly, said the Russian President Vladimir Putin to German Chancellor Angela Merkel during their meeting on Friday.
While Germany has severely protested the Russian annexation of Crimea four years ago and the two countries are at loggerheads on the issue, both the countries are also holding hands with respect to the Nordstream 2 pipeline project that would help the Russians in transferring natural gas to northern Europe.
The companies that are associated with the Russian pipeline projects were liable to being slapped by U.S. sanctions because Washington has some serious concerns about the project, said a U.S. government official this week.
“Donald is not just the U.S. president, he’s also a good, tough entrepreneur,” Putin said at a news conference with Merkel at his side following their meeting.
“He’s promoting the interests of his business, to ensure the sales of liquefied natural gas on the European market,” Putin said.
“I understand the U.S. president. He’s defending the interests of his business, he wants to push his product on the European market. But it depends on us, how we build our relations with our partners, it will depend on our partners in Europe.”
“We believe it (the pipeline) is beneficial for us, we will fight for it.” Merkel, who earlier in the day received a bouquet of pink and white roses from Putin as she arrived at his residence in Sochi, also hinted at tensions between Berlin and the Trump administration.
Many of the European countries including Germany as well as Russia are displeased with Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iranian nuclear deal in addition to the difference between them over the Nordstream pipeline project.
“Germany, Britain, France, and all our partners in the European Union continue to support this deal and remain in this deal and we know that a very specific situation arose that we Europeans need to discuss with Iran,” Merkel said at the news conference.
“I know that the deal is anything but perfect but it is better than no deal.”
Asked about differences with the United States, Merkel told reporters: “We have a strong transatlantic friendship, which during its history has had to withstand many questions of different opinions, and I think that might be the case now as well,” Merkel said when she was asked about the difference of opinion between Germany and the U.S.
“But this does not challenge the intensity of the transatlantic relationship,” she said.
There is a possibility of a rapprochement between Europe and Russia, and settling of differences because of the Ukraine conflict, due to the shared view points on the Iran Nuclear deal with respect to the U.S pulling away from it.
(Adapted from CNBC.com)