The head of Russian diplomacy Sergey Lavrov yesterday Sunday criticized proposals by the Secretary General of the United Nations Organization to reinstate the agreement that allowed the export of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea, calling them “unrealistic”.
Reading the letter gives the impression that another interested party is “taking advantage” of Mr Guterres, Mr Lavrov said on the sidelines of the G20 summit.
Its head UN is trying to secure concessions that will lead to the reinstatement of the so-called Black Sea Grains Initiative, as this agreement is considered necessary to ensure food safety at an international level and to contain food prices at an international level.
In July, a year after it was signed, Moscow withdrew from the deal, which created safe corridors for the export of tens of millions of tons of Ukrainian grain and fertilizer through the Black Sea, despite a naval blockade imposed by the Russian navy after the Russian military began invasion of Ukrainian territory in February 2022.
Its departure marked the end of the safe export of Ukrainian agricultural products through the ports of Odessa, Chornomorsk and Pivdevni, according to the German Agency and the Athens News Agency.
The agreement provided that Russian exports of grain and fertilizers would also be facilitated. But Moscow complains that this part of the deal has never been honored and is demanding the lifting of barriers to its own exports to reconsider its stance.
In particular, it calls for the lifting of Western sanctions on payments, supplies and the insurance of ships and cargoes.
Mr Guterres said in a letter to Mr Lavrov that Moscow could reconnect to the SWIFT international payments system by creating a subsidiary of Russia’s Agrarian Bank to handle specific payments.
Mr. Lavrov, for his part, countered that what Mr. Guterres seems to be proposing is to connect a subsidiary of the Agricultural Bank in Luxembourg to SWIFT. But “[η θυγατρική] it does not have a license to carry out banking operations (…) it will close,” he said, adding that the planned participation of the insurance company Lloyd’s in the deal raises unanswered questions.
However, the Russian Foreign Ministry reiterated that Russia is ready to reinstate the agreement if its demands are met.
Moscow is demanding that the Agricultural Bank itself reconnect with SWIFT and that certain Western sanctions affecting the Russian food sector be eased.
In his letter, Mr Guterres also suggests unfreezing fertilizer company funds tied up in Europe and allowing Russian ships to enter European ports again — revealing, implicitly but not explicitly, that the UN is discussing with the EU the possibility of make these concessions.
As talks are underway to safely export Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea without Russia, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned against excluding Moscow from the process.
Any process that “excludes Russia from the grain issue is unlikely to prove viable,” the Turkish president stressed after the G20.
Turkey – which also brokered the deal in July 2022 – is also continuing efforts to resurrect the Black Sea Grains Initiative, but the West must fulfill its commitments, he insisted.
Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin told Mr Erdogan he would not give the green light to reinstate the deal until Moscow’s conditions were met.
Source: News Beast
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