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BERLIN, June 15. /TASS/. Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel have issued a joint statement voicing strong criticism of the US plans to impose new sanctions on Russia.
Kern and Gabriel are convinced that the proposed restrictions run contrary to international law, pose a threat to Europe’s energy security and are bound to hamper efforts to settle the situation in Ukraine. The two politicians also said that this plan was only aimed at forcing the American LNG into the European market and pushing the Russian gas out of it.
"The threat to introduce sanctions against the European companies that participate in expanding the European energy system is unacceptable as it runs contrary to international law concerning extraterritorial sanctions," the statement reads. "The US sanctions bill openly describes what the actual goal is - to sell the American LNG and push the Russian natural gas out of the European market. Sanctions aim at ensuring jobs in the US gas and oil industry," Kern and Gabriel added.
The Austrian chancellor and German foreign minister, who represent social democratic parties, also said that "sanctions should not be used as a political tool to achieve economic goals." "Threats against companies from Germany, Austria and other European countries who are active on the US market but at the same time cooperate with Russia in gas projects such as Nord Stream-2, create a new trend which may negatively affect the European-US relations," Kern and Gabriel said.
"Energy supply to Europe is a European issue, not the US one. It is us who decide who will supply energy to us in accordance with the principles of openness and market competition," they stressed. "If we stop harmonizing our activities and start to act based on the reasons not related to the matter, such as the US economic interests concerning gas exports, then it would be a regrettable thing, harmful for our position on the Ukrainian conflict," the Austrian chancellor and the German foreign minister concluded.