Germany, Norway seek NATO-led hub for key undersea structures

Germany, Norway seek NATO-led hub for key undersea structures

The Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines off the Danish island of Bornholm were targeted by two huge explosions
The Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines off the Danish island of Bornholm were targeted by two huge explosions

BERLIN - Germany and Norway want to start a NATO-led alliance to protect critical underwater infrastructure, their leaders said on Wednesday, weeks after explosions hit two key gas pipelines in the fallout from the war in Ukraine.

"We are in the process of asking the NATO Secretary General to set up a coordination office for the protection of underwater infrastructure," German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told a press conference in Berlin.

"We take the protection of our critical infrastructure very seriously and nobody should believe that attacks will remain without consequences," he said.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said the alliance would be "an informal initiative to exchange between civilian and also military actors" with NATO providing "a centre, a coordination point".

Underwater cables and pipelines were "arteries of the modern economy" and it was necessary to create "a coordinated joint effort to ensure security for this infrastructure", he said.

Scholz said he and Store would propose the plan to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who is due in Berlin for a security conference.

The Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines off the Danish island of Bornholm were targeted by two huge explosions at the end of September.

The pipelines, which connect Russia to Germany, had been at the centre of geopolitical tensions as Moscow cut gas supplies to Europe in suspected retaliation to Western sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine.

Although they were not in operation when the leaks occurred, they both still contained gas which spewed up through the water and into the atmosphere.

Russia and Western countries, particularly the United States, have traded bitter barbs over who is responsible for the blasts.

Several European countries have since taken steps to increase security around critical infrastructure.

The G7 interior ministers warned earlier this month at a meeting in Germany that the Nord Stream explosions had highlighted "the need to better protect our critical infrastructure".

Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT

Thailand improves in corruption survey

Thailand has improved by nine places to 101st out of 180 countries in the 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index from 110th in 2021, Transparency International (TI) said on Tuesday.

31 Jan 2023

Anutin posters cause a stir

The Pheu Thai Party on Tuesday joined a call for the Election Commission (EC) to look into posters erected at many state-run hospitals depicting Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul.

31 Jan 2023

Court lets 'Pinky' remove electronic tag

Actress Savika “Pinky” Chaiyadej on Tuesday won approval from the Criminal Court to remove an electronic monitoring (EM) device she was required to wear after her release from jail on Nov 30 last year.

31 Jan 2023