Germany confirms U.S. waiver on some Nord Stream 2 sanctions

BERLIN, May 19 (Reuters) - The United States is waiving sanctions on the company behind Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Europe and its chief executive, Germany said on Wednesday, giving Berlin and Washington three more months to resolve a long-standing row.

The stand-off over the completion of the $11 billion venture, led by Russian state energy firm Gazprom, has strained ties at a time when Berlin and Washington are eager to rebuild relations which were severely damaged under former U.S. President Donald Trump.

"There is a presidential waiver for the Nord Stream 2 company and its CEO, who is a German citizen," German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told a news conference.

Maas said the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden had imposed sanctions on Russian entities and ships linked to Nord Stream 2 as well as on the firm behind the pipeline and its CEO.

However, the company and its chief executive had been exempted immediately after the decision was made, he added.

"We see this as a constructive step which we are happy to further discuss with our partners in Washington," Maas said, adding the Biden administration had not made any promises beyond the sanctions waiver.

"But I think we have won another three months time (until the next U.S. review) for discussions with those responsible in Washington on how to proceed," Maas told reporters.

The company behind Nord Stream 2 says the pipeline from Russia to Germany is 95% complete, with around 121 kilometre (75 miles) left to be built.

Reporting by Sabine Siebold Editing by Riham Alkousaa

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