Ukrainian cereals: consultations continue after limited Russian proposal | War in Ukraine

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Ukrainian grain: consultations continue after limited Russian proposal | War in Ukraine

The grain deal helped alleviate the global food crisis caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

Consultations in Geneva on an extension of the Ukrainian grain export deal that helped ease a global food crisis continue on Tuesday after a Russian proposal limiting it to two months, making uncertain of its maintenance.

The United Nations will do everything possible to preserve the integrity of the agreement and ensure its continuity, said Jens Laerke, a spokesperson for the United Nations humanitarian agency (OCHA), whose boss, Martin Griffiths, is at the heart of the negotiations.

Consultations with all parties are continuing at all levels, he stressed, without being able to say what will happen when the already extended agreement expires on March 18. 120 days in the fall. We'll see what happens on Saturday, he said, pressed with questions by reporters in Geneva.

After discussions on Monday between Martin Griffiths, the head of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Rebeca Grynspan and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Verchinin, Moscow had indicated that it was not x27; was not opposed to extending the agreement, but only for 60 days instead of twice that.

For Moscow, this proposal represents a gesture of goodwill. However, 120 days are provided for in the document accepted last summer by Russia and Ukraine and whose application is guaranteed by the UN and Turkey.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Verchinin.

Ukraine immediately criticized the Russian announcement, believing that the Black Sea Grain Initiative agreement involves at least 120 days of extension and that a Russian position to extend it for only 60 days therefore contradicts the document signed by Turkey and the UN.

Kiev is now waiting for the official position of the United Nations and Ankara in as guarantors of the initiative.

In a press release Monday evening, the UN had already expressed its concern to preserve the agreement, and indicated that x27; she took note of the Russian position.

The Russians are not satisfied with the results of a second agreement which had been concluded in parallel last summer with the United Nations and which was to make it possible to remove obstacles on their own grain exports and especially to fertilizer.

Although these products are not affected by the sanctions imposed by Kiev's allies to force Moscow to stop the invasion of Ukraine, the financial measures have had the indirect effect of deterring operations from Ukraine. intermediaries fearing retaliatory measures in the United States and Europe.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dotted the i's on Tuesday. It is obvious that by and large […] the second part of the agreement which concerns us has not been applied so far, he accused, and of pinpoint the culprits.

“We appreciate the efforts of the UN, of its Secretary-General himself […] But [Antonio] Guterres has failed to break through the wall erected by the collective West.

— Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin Spokesman

Key sticking points for Moscow include: bank payments, transport logistics, insurance, the thawing of financial activities and the supply of ammonia via the Togliatti-Odessa pipeline, detailed Mr. Verchinin.

The grain deal helped alleviate the global food crisis caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

It enabled the export of some 24.3 million tonnes of grain from Ukrainian ports.

The M/V Rojen, carrying tons of grain from Ukraine, arrived in Turkey on August 7 (File photo).

In contrast for the fertilizer component – just as crucial – only a very small part of the 260,000 tons of Russian fertilizers that have been stored in European ports since the start of the war have been released.

For example, the World Food Program (WFP) is in the process of chartering a ship to transport more than 34,000 tons of chemicals used in the production of fertilizers from Latvia to Kenya, at the latter's request. , a WFP spokeswoman told Agence France-Presse.

A contract has been finalized between Uralchem-Uralkali [a Russian group and one of the main world producers editor's note], the Kenya National Trading Corporation [a public entity] and the WFP, she said.

The WFP had already transported 20,000 tons of products donated by Uralchem-Uralkali to the Government of Malawi.

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