UN working to renew Ukraine grain export deal

AFP , Monday 12 Jun 2023

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Monday he is working to extend an agreement that allows grain from war-torn Ukraine to reach the global market and prevent shortages.

 Black Sea Grain Initiative
File Photo: The first commercial vessel carrying grain under the Black Sea Grain Initiative set sail in August 2022.. Photo courtesy of United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) official website.


That crucial accord granting safe passage for Ukrainian grain to be exported via Black Sea ports despite Moscow's invasion was signed in July 2022 by Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations. It was renewed again in May but for only two months, until July 17.

Moscow is demanding guarantees on another agreement concerning its own exports, in particular of fertilizer components.

"I am concerned, and we are working hard in order to make sure that it will be possible to maintain the Black Sea Initiative and at the same time that we are able to go on in our work to facilitate Russian exports," Guterres told a press conference.

The accord helped alleviate foot shortages triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a major grain exporter, and its blockade of Ukrainian ports.

Russia said last week that a Ukrainian sabotage group had blown up a section of a pipeline that Russia used to export ammonia, a key component for making fertilizer.

That stretch of the conduit is in Ukraine. The two countries have blamed each other for the attack.

The resumption of Russia's ammonia exports through the pipeline is one of Moscow's conditions to continue with the grain export deal.

The Kremlin on Thursday said the blast on the pipeline would have a "negative" effect on talks to renew the grain export deal.

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