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Saturday, March 25, 2023

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister has declared his willingness to prolong the cereal agreement with limitations.

The Russian side is ready to extend the term of the grain agreement for the export of grain and other products from Ukraine, but only for 60 days. This was stated by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin following the results of the next round of consultations with UN representatives in Geneva. His comment published on the website of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The diplomat recalled that the so-called grain agreement, reached in Istanbul in July 2022, is a “comprehensive” agreement and consists of two parts:

the “Black Sea Initiative” for the export of Ukrainian products – foodstuffs (including cereals) and raw materials for the production of fertilizers (including ammonia); Russia-UN memorandum on the normalization of Russian agricultural exports.

“The detailed and frank conversation that took place once again confirmed that if the commercial export of Ukrainian products is going at a steady pace, bringing considerable benefits to Kiev, then there are still obstacles in the way of Russian agricultural exporters,” Vershinin said. .

He explained that the declared relief of sanctions for fertilizers and food from the United States, the EU and the United Kingdom does not work in reality. Given the situation, according to the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Moscow is ready for a further extension of the “Black Sea Initiative” for a third term – after March 18, 2023, but only for 60 days.

Vershinin added that the future fate of the grain agreement depends on the ability of the Russia-UN memorandum to be implemented “not in words, but in deeds” and to achieve progress in the normalization of agricultural exports. Russians.

The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister also listed several areas where such progress should be evident:

make bank payments; restoration of transport logistics; resolving vessel and cargo insurance issues; “thaw” of financial activity; ammonia deliveries through the Togliatti-Odessa pipeline.

In July 2022, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the UN signed an agreement in Istanbul on the export of grain from Ukrainian ports along a safe maritime corridor for 120 days (until November 19 ). On November 17, 2022, it was extended until March 18, 2023. Since August 2022, under the Black Sea Grain Initiative, 17.8 million tonnes of cereals and other food products have been exported to 43 countries, including 64% to developing countries, according to the UN Secretary General’s website on January 18, 2023.

On February 13, in an interview with RTVI, Sergei Vershinin said that about half of Ukrainian products exported under the grain agreement are actually “sent to the EU and developed countries like Korea of the South and Israel”.

Commenting on this statement, the EU delegation to Russia assured that most of the food exported under the “grain initiative” is destined for low- and middle-income countries.

“A significant share also goes to developed countries, since this market is not controlled by the authorities and the rules of the market, such as the supply/demand rule, apply freely between private entities”, admitted the representative office. .

His comment also said that Moscow’s claims regarding the implementation of the Russia-UN memorandum are based on inaccurate data, when in fact “the data <…> demonstrate the existence of a dynamic and prosperous trade – for example, data from the Russian Ministry of Agriculture, including (supplies) of fertilizers (from Russia abroad).

The Representation claimed that the Russian authorities had “taken measures aimed at restricting the export of certain goods from Russia in the form of export duties and quotas”, and also “voluntarily slowed down inspections of vessels involved in grain transaction, leading to serious (supply) delays.

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