Berlin Confirms Nord Stream Support

The German government said Friday that it supported the planned Nord Stream gas pipeline, shrugging off a U.S. ambassador's call for the Gazprom-led project to be reconsidered.

"We have made it clear that we support this project for political reasons," said Ulrich Wilhelm, Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief spokesman.

The pipeline beneath the Baltic Sea, chaired by former Chancellor Gerhard SchrЪder, is necessary for the European Union's energy security, Wilhelm said.

Michael Wood, U.S. ambassador to Sweden, wrote in a Swedish newspaper earlier in the week that Europe must consider alternative energy routes to reduce its dependence on Gazprom and criticized Nord Stream as a special arrangement between Russia and Germany.

The German Foreign Ministry told the U.S. Embassy in Berlin that it was "irritated" by the comments, German newspaper Handelsblatt reported Thursday.