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German SPD official calls for end to Nord Stream 2 dispute

·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: Kevin Kuehnert of Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD) attends a hybrid party conference

BERLIN (Reuters) - A senior official from the party that leads Germany's coalition government called on Monday for an end to a political dispute over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to bring Russian gas to Germany.

The pipeline under the Baltic Sea is backed by the Social Democratic Party (SPD) but opposed by one of its junior coalition partners, the Greens.

"We have to leave the (dispute) behind us at some point," Kevin Kuehnert, the SPD's secretary general, told a news conference after a meeting of an SPD leadership body.

The pipeline was completed in September, but is awaiting approval from German and European Union regulators, and some politicians - in Germany and abroad - have said it should be blocked because of various policy disagreements with Russia.

Kuehnert said discussion of potential sanctions against Russia if the Ukraine conflict escalates following a Russian military buildup near Ukraine's border was a different issue to the Nord Stream 2 project.

"Everything in me resists the idea of conflicts being conjured up just to bury a controversial project," Kuehnert said.

Kuehnert told Reuters in an interview on Sunday that Nord Stream 2 had been planned for long enough, and it was now time for "political and legal peace" on the issue.

The SPD's position mirrors that of former Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats. Merkel declared the pipeline a commercial project, a line echoed on by Chancellor Olaf Scholz, an SPD member.

(Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Zuzanna Szymanska, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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