Merkel on Russia: yes to sanctions, no to cutting ties

BERLIN, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday Germany was prepared to continue sanctions on Russia, including against individuals, but said it was a “diplomatic duty” to keep open channels of communication with Europe’s giant eastern neighbour.

She told a joint news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron that Germany was, “for the time being”, sticking to its position in favour of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which is opposed by the United States and much of Europe.

“In connection with the events in Russia, we have already said that we reserve the right to continue sanctions, especially against individuals. The position on Nord Stream 2 is not affected by this for the time being; this is a project on which you know the position of the federal government,” Merkel said. (Reporting by Thomas Escritt Editing by Paul Carrel)