If the parties fail to reach an agreement on the grain deal by May 18, it will not go ahead, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. Previously, it was stated that five systemic issues needed to be resolved for it to be extended.
Russia is opposed to an indefinite extension of the grain deal, said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin.
He pointed out that Moscow is currently examining proposals from the UN Secretary-General António Guterres and that these are being processed on an interdepartmental basis. Vershinin explained:
“These proposals envisage mutually binding steps regarding the resumption of ammonia supplies through the Tolyatti-Odessa ammonia pipeline, as well as possibly some other ideas.”
At the same time, the diplomat described the “package principle – ‘Do this and you will get something supposedly useful for you'” as wrong. The Deputy Secretary of State said:
“That is why we are in favor of not distorting the character of the Black Sea Initiative, and even more against what some European capitals advocate – against its expansion or indefinite prolongation. We need to understand what is being done, also by us and the participants of the Agreement.”
Earlier, the Russian Foreign Ministry listed five “systemic problems” without the resolution of which an extension of the agreement will not be possible, namely:
- Reconnection of Rosselchosbank to the SWIFT system;
- resumption of deliveries of agricultural machinery to Russia;
- Release of foreign credit balances of Russian production-related companies;
- lift restrictions on insurance and reinsurance and lift the ban on access to ports;
- Restoration of Tolyatti-Odessa ammonia pipeline.
A high-level meeting on the Black Sea Initiative at the level of deputy defense and foreign ministers was held in Istanbul on Wednesday and Thursday. The Black Sea Initiative expires on May 18.
UNO: So far no fertilizer exports under the grain agreement
The Black Sea Grains Initiative, signed by representatives of Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and the UN on July 22, 2022, envisages the export of Ukrainian grain, food and fertilizers across the Black Sea from three ports, including Odessa . The Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul is responsible for coordinating ship movements.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has pointed out that the West exports most of Ukraine’s grain to itself and not to needy countries in Africa. On March 18, 2023, Russia extended the deal by 60 days until May 18, but Ukraine insists the deal was extended by 120 days.
The Black Sea Grains Initiative is part of the agreement. The second part, a three-year memorandum between Russia and the United Nations, provides for the lifting of the blockade on Russia’s food and fertilizer exports, the reconnection of Rosselkhozbank to SWIFT, the resumption of deliveries of agricultural equipment, spare parts and services, and restoration operation of the Tolyatti-Odessa ammonia pipeline and some other measures. As noted in Moscow, this part of the package has not yet been implemented.
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