Ukraine grain deal extended for 60 days

by Hussein Hayatsewer and Michelle Nichols

ANKARA/UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – A deal guaranteeing Ukraine’s grain exports through Black Sea ports was extended on Saturday for at least 60 days, half of the planned period, as Russia blocked some Western A further extension from mid-May was a condition for lifting the restrictions.

The initial agreement between Russia and Ukraine was renewed in November for another 120 days through July 2022 after talks with UN and Turkish mediation to avoid a global food crisis linked to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February Could 24, 2022 and the blockade of the Black Sea. The deal was due to expire on Saturday.

The United Nations and Turkey said on Saturday that the deal had been extended without giving details. Ukraine, for its part, indicated it was extended for 120 days, but an agreement from Russia is necessary and Moscow has only agreed to renew it for 60 days.

“The Black Sea Grain Initiative and the MoU promoting Russian food products and fertilizers to world markets are essential to global food security, especially for developing countries,” UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said in a press release. “

Russia and Ukraine are major global suppliers of food, and Russia is also one of the major exporters of fertilizers.

Last year, in an effort to induce Russia to allow Ukraine to resume grain exports via the Black Sea, a three-year deal was also struck in July under which the United Nations would help Russia export food and fertilizers. agreed to do.

Western powers have imposed significant sanctions on Russia since its invasion of Ukraine. While these restrictions do not affect food and fertilizer exports, Moscow says restrictions on payments, logistics and insurance are a deterrent to shipments.

Russian UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said on Friday that the European Union, the United States and the United Kingdom now have two months to exempt the entire Russian agricultural sector from their sanctions if they agree to a grain agreement through the Black Sea. Want to expand.

The US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, explained that Washington “made extraordinary efforts to signal clear exemptions for food and fertilizers to governments and the private sector”.

The United Nations, for its part, said that while progress had been made to facilitate Russian agricultural exports, obstacles remained, particularly with regard to payment systems.

Stéphane Dujarric said on Saturday that the UN is firmly committed to implementing the Black Sea Grain Agreement and urged “all parties to redouble their efforts to fully implement it”.

According to the United Nations, Ukraine has so far exported about 25 million tonnes of grain, mainly corn and wheat, under the agreement, notably to China, Italy, Spain, Turkey and the Netherlands.

(With contributions from Max Hunder in Kiev; French edition by Claude Chendjou)

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