Germany, U.S. want closer ties after Nord Stream 2 sanctions waiver- Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany May 12, 2021. Michael Sohn/Pool via REUTERS

BERLIN, May 20 (Reuters) - Germany and the United States are in talks to intensify their economic ties after the Biden administration waived sanctions on the company behind Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday.

"President Biden has now moved toward us a bit on the Nord Stream 2 conflict, where we have different views but where we will now talk further about what are the necessary commonalities in relation to Russia," Merkel said in an interview with public broadcaster WDR.

"We are in talks with each other in many areas ... we are also in bilateral talks, for example, especially with regard to intensifying our economic cooperation," she added.

The Biden administration waived sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG and its chief executive earlier this week as the U.S. seeks to rebuild ties with Germany, after relations deteriorated under Republican former President Donald Trump.

Gazprom (GAZP.MM) and its Western partners are racing to finish the pipeline to send natural gas under the Baltic Sea. The project, now about 95% complete, would bypass Ukraine, depriving it of lucrative transit fees and potentially undermining its struggle with Russia.

Reporting by Paul Carrel and Joseph Nasr

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