U.S. President Joe Biden met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Washington.
For the first time since taking office as German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz traveled to Washington to meet with President Joe Biden at the White House. According to Deutsche Welle (DW), Scholz called the United States and Germany “closest allies.”
During the meeting, Scholz assured Biden that his country supports the United States and other NATO partners in opposing any Russian aggression against Ukraine.
The talks between the German Chancellor and the U.S. President concerned the tense situation on the border of Ukraine with Russia, where about 100,000 Russian servicemen are stationed.
“We are the closest allies, and we are actively working together – this is necessary in order to take steps aimed at combating Russian aggression against Ukraine,” Scholz said during his inaugural visit to the White House as German Chancellor: in December he took up this position, becoming the successor of Angela Merkel.
Joe Biden, in turn, expressed his approval of the close ties between Washington and Berlin, adding that both countries are “working synchronously” to further deter Russian aggression.
Scholz has already visited the White House as Finance minister and Deputy Chancellor under Angela Merkel; but recently he has been criticized for postponing his first visit to the United States already as chancellor. Scholz took office 60 days ago – unlike him, both Merkel and her predecessor Gerhard Schroeder did not delay their first overseas visit so much.
At the moment, however, there are a number of difficulties in relations between Berlin and Washington, DW notes.
Despite the fact that the United States and Germany have been loyal allies since the end of World War II, recently the unambiguity of Germany’s attitude to preventing Russian aggression has been questioned.
The key point of discord between Washington and Berlin was the construction of the “Nord Stream-2” gas pipeline, which should supply Russian natural gas directly to Germany, which needs it.
Earlier, the White House opposed the pipeline, which bypasses Ukraine, thus depriving it of an important source of income from the transit of fuel – and threatened to impose sanctions.
Subsequently, Washington revised its categorical position in favor of improving relations with Berlin. However, the United States recently announced that the pipeline would not be put into operation if Russia invaded Ukraine.
“I think Germany will eventually support economic sanctions, as well as sanctions against “Nord Stream-2,” Stefan Meister, an expert on Russia and Eastern Europe at the German Council on Foreign Relations, told DW on Monday, February 7.
However, regarding Germany’s refusal to sell weapons to Ukraine due to the fact that this is a crisis region, Meister is confident that “an agreement is unlikely to be reached, definitely not.” According to him, Scholz “once again made it clear that Germany will not send weapons to Ukraine.”