France urges Germany to scrap massive gas pipeline project with Russia
Iran Press TV
Monday, 01 February 2021 11:11 AM
France has called on Germany to scrap a massive nearly-finished gas pipeline from Russia in protest over the detention of Western-backed opposition figure Alexei Navalny.
French European Affairs minister Clement Beaune told France Inter radio on Monday that France always had "the greatest doubts" on the Nord Stream 2 project, which would transport gas to Europe under the Baltic Sea.
Asked specifically if France wanted Germany to cancel the massive project, Beaune said, "Indeed, we have already said this."
Beaune said European leaders were weighing new sanctions against Russia over what they described as a harsh response to protests in support of Navalny.
"Sanctions have already been imposed, we could do that but we have to be clear, they will not be enough," Beaune said.
"The Nord Stream option is one under consideration," he added, while acknowledging that "it's a decision for Germany, because the pipeline is in Germany."
US lawmakers have criticized the gas project, saying it will increase German and EU energy dependency on Russia. Several European countries such as France and Poland have echoed the same concern.
Meanwhile, Russian police arrested thousands of pro-Navalny protesters who staged illegal rallies ahead of his trial. Navalny, who was arrested in mid-January, faces court on Tuesday.
He was arrested upon arrival from Germany this month for violating the terms of a suspended sentence he received in 2014 for fraud and money laundering.
The blogger had spent five months in Germany after being transferred to a hospital in Berlin, receiving treatment for what the West alleged was poisoning by Moscow.
Moscow has repeatedly rejected the allegation, saying the West is exploiting the case for political reasons and using it as a pretext to impose more sanctions against Russia.
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