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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Turkey’s foreign minister says Ankara, together with the UN, is working to extend the grain deal – Reuters

The head of the Turkish Foreign Ministry spoke positively about the effectiveness of the grain agreement and stressed the need to continue this agreement. “The Istanbul Grain Initiative, which we have carried out jointly with the UN, has helped many countries, especially the least developed countries, because it has brought down world food prices. We are working hard to ensure may it be implemented smoothly and expanded,” Cavusoglu said at the opening. of the conference. The official also noted that the issue of extending the grain deal was also raised during his conversation with UN Secretary-General António Guterres held on the eve of the conference.

A grain agreement between Russia and Ukraine, brokered by Turkey and the UN, was reached on July 22 last year. The agreement is dedicated to the admission of Ukrainian grain for export to world markets by sea transport through the Black Sea. As an essential prerequisite for the conclusion of such an agreement, the urgent need for developing countries to receive grain from Ukraine was indicated. The agreement provided that ships carrying Ukrainian grain would be inspected by a joint commission of experts in order to prevent various manipulations and provocations – for example, the use of ships to transport weapons. The agreement was concluded for a period of 4 months, but when it expired (in November last year) it was extended for the same period. The extended agreement is valid until March 18 of the current year.

Meanwhile, in August, the New York Times reported that grain from unblocked ports in Ukraine was not going to starving countries in Africa. It turned out that almost all Ukrainian dry cargo ships were sent to other parts of the world, and mainly to Europe. As the publication clarifies, the main destinations of “square” ships are by no means developing countries, where the food problem is as acute as possible. Part of the ships sailed to neighboring Turkey, other bulk carriers carrying Ukrainian grain headed for England, Ireland, China, Italy and Iran. At the same time, not a single Ukrainian ship arrived in the ports of Yemen, Ethiopia, Somalia and other African countries that urgently needed grain. Although Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has promised that Kiev will retain the role of “guarantor of global food security”.

It should be noted that the UN itself radiated optimism in every possible way. Ukrainian bulk carriers heading for Europe were described there only as “rescue deliveries of grain”. Stefan Dujarric, spokesperson for the UN Secretary General, explained that the agreement to unblock Ukrainian ports is justified: food prices have fallen, which is supposed to be a great help for the countries of the starving Third Worlds. In the end, the main task is not to feed all those who need it most, but to fill the world market with grain and thus bring down its price.

Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry draws attention to the fact that the grain agreement involves not only the export of the relevant products from Ukraine, but also the access of Russian agricultural products to world markets. On July 22, 2022, two complementary agreements were signed – the “Black Sea Initiative” itself and the Russia-UN memorandum on the promotion of domestic agricultural products. Progress in the second part tends towards zero. “The reason for this is the stubborn reluctance of the West to recognize the second part of the Guterres package and their pursuit of sanctions restrictions, which, despite all the unfounded statements from Washington, Brussels and London, apply to food and fertilizers. “In fact, the UN members are trying to work towards the removal of our agricultural products from restrictions, which should not be, in principle, as far as global food security is concerned. They are working without success,” they said. on Smolenskaya Square.

As noted, tens or even hundreds of tons of fertilizer, which Russia is ready to donate to countries in need, are stuck in ports in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and the Netherlands. “Even if this purely humanitarian action, without any commercial component, under the aegis of the UN is implemented with so much difficulty and delay, one can imagine what obstacles our companies face in organizing deliveries to export, which we are pursuing,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. said.

“The ‘package’ of agreements proposed by António Guterres and signed in Istanbul on July 22, 2022 does not work,” concluded the Russian Foreign Ministry. The main problem is the sabotage by Western countries of the implementation of the Russia-UN memorandum. It turned out that the United States and the EU countries do not care about the needs of countries in need, nor about the efforts of the UN, which they have long and persistently tried to turn into a obedient tool to serve their political goals. “The West, without a twinge of conscience, is burying the UN Secretary General’s humanitarian package,” they noted in Smolenskaya Square.

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