This article was published by Radio Free Europe on March 20, 2022.
Germany says it has reached a long-term energy partnership with the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar as Berlin looks to become less dependent on uncertain Russian energy sources following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Although we might still need Russian gas this year, in the future it won’t be so any more. And this is only the start,” German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said on March 20 during a visit to Doha.
Germany, Europe’s largest economy, has for years been reliant on energy supplies from Russia and had been reluctant to place sanctions on Moscow following the Kremlin’s aggressive moves in Eastern Europe.
However, after Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has moved closer to the United States and other Western leaders in efforts to punish the Kremlin for its actions and has expressed the need to diversify Germany’s energy purchases.
Scholz announced last month that a key document required for the certification of the $11 billion Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany would be withdrawn, essentially ending the long-awaited but controversial project for now.
In Doha on March 20, Habeck met Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and the two discussed ways to enhance bilateral relations, with a focus on the energy sector, Qatar said in a statement.
Qatar is the world’s top exporter of liquefied natural gas and has the third-largest gas reserves after Russia and Iran.