Friday, May 24, 2024

Russia agrees to extend grain export deal for two months only


Ukrainian grain exports from Odessa port

Russia and Ukraine

The current contract expires on March 18

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Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin announced on Monday that his country is not opposed to extending the agreement to export grain through Black Sea ports, but this time only for 60 days.

“The Russian side is not opposed to another extension of the Black Sea Initiative,” Vershinin told a press conference following the conclusion of negotiations with United Nations representatives on extending the grain deal in Geneva after it expired on March 18. for 60 days.” .

Last week, the Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed Moscow’s readiness to implement part of the grain export agreement, according to the Russian “Sputnik” agency, if other parties also implement their obligations.

Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov on Monday deemed a Russian proposal to extend the Ukrainian grain export agreement by 60 days as inconsistent with the basic agreement, which expires on July 18, but he did not rule out Moscow. provide definite.

And the minister wrote in a tweet, “The agreement on the Black Sea Grain Initiative provides for an extension of at least 120 days, and Russia’s position to extend it for only 60 days is contrary to the document signed by Turkey and the United Nations.”

He explained that Ukraine is waiting for the “official position” of the United Nations and Turkey.

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An agreement between Russia and Ukraine, brokered by Turkey and under the auspices of the United Nations, was signed last July in Istanbul establishing a four-way coordination center to inspect ships carrying grain to prevent arms smuggling.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, brokered between Russia and Ukraine by the United Nations and Turkey last July, is intended to avert a global food crisis by allowing grain to be safely exported from three Ukrainian ports after Russia’s attack temporarily halted exports.

According to the United Nations, this landmark deal for global food supply saw the export of more than 24 million tons of grain from Ukrainian ports.

The agreement is up for renewal on March 18 and was earlier extended for 120 days in November.

Moscow has already indicated it would agree to an extension only if restrictions affecting its exports are lifted, but several diplomats and senior officials, including Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, remain optimistic about renewing the deal.

Russian officials say that while the country’s agricultural exports have not been openly targeted by the West, restrictions on its payments, logistics and insurance sectors have limited its ability to export grain and fertilizer.

Ukraine and Russia are among the most important global suppliers of grains and fertilizers.

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Rolf Colon
Rolf Colon
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