Despite failing to resolve differences between Washington and Berlin, the US president said that he and the German chancellor are united in their conviction that "Russia must not be allowed to use energy as a weapon" against its neighbours.
US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have failed to settle their dispute over Russia's Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline but said they agreed that Moscow must not be allowed to use energy as a weapon to coerce its neighbors.
"Good friends can disagree," Biden told reporters on Thursday after two meetings with Merkel at the White House, adding that both leaders had asked their teams to look at practical measures they could take together if Russia's actions posed a threat.
Biden said he expressed his long-standing concerns to Merkel about the $11 billion pipeline, which would deliver gas from the Arctic to Germany via the Baltic Sea, bypassing Ukraine and depriving it of valuable transit fees.
Russia is racing to finish the pipeline that would take gas to Germany bypassing Ukraine and depriving it of valuable transit fees, potentially undermining its struggle with Russian aggression.
Biden told reporters that he and Merkel are "absolutely united in our conviction that Russia must not be allowed to use energy as a weapon to coerce or threaten its neighbors."
Germany wants the gas from the pipeline, which would double the capacity of Russia to deliver the fuel under the Baltic Sea, and likely be cheaper than liquefied natural gas imports from the United States and other countries.
Biden has long said the pipeline is a bad deal for Europe.
Differences between Washington and Berlin
In May, Biden's administration sanctioned Nord Stream 2 AG, the company behind the project and its chief executive. But he immediately waived the measures as Washington seeks to repair relations with Berlin following four years of the Trump administration.
Merkel told reporters that Germany, Europe's biggest economy, has different views on the pipeline than the United States. But she said Berlin sees Ukraine as a transit country, evidently meaning she believes that natural gas should still flow through Ukraine, even if the pipeline is completed.
Merkel said there are a "number of instruments" Europe can use, including sanctions, if Russia does not act satisfactorily regarding Ukraine.
Russia says the $11 billion pipeline, led by Russian state energy company Gazprom and its Western partners, will go into operation later this year.
Biden said that both leaders have asked their teams to look at measures the countries can take together if Europe's energy security is weakened by Russia's actions.
The two countries agreed to collaborate to accelerate moves to tackle the climate crisis in emerging economies, pledging to mobilise investment in Central and Eastern Europe.
A joint statement singled out investments aimed at supporting Ukraine's energy transformation, energy efficiency, and energy security.
The move could factor into an eventual agreement, expected before August, to end the threat of US sanctions over Nord Stream 2.