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ISTANBUL/UN: Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the UN on Thursday (May 11) discussed a UN proposal to extend a deal allowing the safe export of Ukrainian grain to the Black Sea, but the Russian government declined to trade. threatened to terminate the agreement on May 18, citing the failure of Export of grains and fertilizers.

The United Nations and Turkey brokered the Black Sea Agreement last July to help address the global food crisis exacerbated by Russia’s war in Ukraine. At the same time, the United Nations agreed to help Moscow facilitate the shipment of its agricultural products.

of High-level meeting in Istanbul Thursday appears to have ended without Russia’s agreement on the extension of the Black Sea Agreement. The Kremlin announced earlier Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin could hold short-term talks with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on extending the deal if necessary, but there are no plans to do so at this time.

“The meeting discussed recent proposals by the United Nations, namely the resumption of the Togliatti-Odessa ammonia pipeline, the long-term extension of the agreement, the improvement of the Joint Coordination Center for stable operations and exports, as well as other proposals raised by the United Nations. We discussed the issue of the party,” the United Nations said.

“The parties have presented their views and agreed to address these elements in the future,” the United Nations said in a statement.

Russian demand

Turkey’s defense ministry said progress had been made in negotiations on the Black Sea Grains Agreement and the two sides agreed to continue four-way technical meetings on the agreement. On Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevrut Cavushoğlu said he believed the deal could be extended for at least another two months.

Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kublakov said after Thursday’s meeting that the grain deal should be extended and expanded for a long time. He said talks will continue online.

Russia has released a list of requirements on its agricultural exports that it wants to meet before agreeing to extend the agreement. That includes reopening a UN-requested pipeline to transport Russian ammonia to Ukrainian Black Sea ports.

These Russian exports are not subject to Western sanctions imposed after the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, but restrictions on payments, logistics and insurance pose barriers to shipments, the Russian government said.

Linda Thomas Greenfield, US Ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters: “I want to be very clear: Russia is exporting well, at levels equal to or better than before the full-scale invasion[of Ukraine]. We export grain and fertilizer,” he said. .

Another major Russian demand is to restore access to the Agricultural Bank of Russia (aka Roselkhoz Bank) to its SWIFT payment system, which was revoked by the European Union in June due to the Russian government’s invasion of Ukraine. blocked.

As an alternative, the United Nations suggested that other banks could assist with payment processing. Reuters reported that J.P. Morgan has processed the first payment to the Agricultural Bank of Russia and may process dozens more, but the Russian government has said this is not a long-term solution. said.

“Weaponized Food”

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin told Russian media in Istanbul on Thursday that the Black Sea deal “will cease to exist” if Russia’s demands remain unresolved. He specifically mentioned his SWIFT access.

About 30 million tons of grain and food products have been exported from Ukraine under this agreement, including those loaded onto World Food Program vessels for aid operations in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Yemen. The United Nations announced that it contains about 600,000 tons of grain. .

Officials from Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations formed the Joint Coordinating Center (JCC) in Istanbul to implement the Black Sea Export Agreement. They license and inspect vessels. No new vessels have been approved by the JCC since Thursday.

In an excerpt of a letter obtained by Reuters last month, Russia told its JCC counterparts that it “will not approve new vessels to join the Black Sea Agreement unless the transit is completed by the planned date of 18 May. ‘ said. .close”.

“Russia is weaponizing food again,” said Thomas Greenfield on Thursday. “They are holding vulnerable and hungry people hostage in Africa, the Middle East and around the world.” No deal yet on extension of Ukraine grain deal, UN proposal in focus

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