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Food Security: UN, Russia continue consultations on grain, fertilizer exports

*The United Nations moves to renew the Black Sea agreements on exporting grain and fertilizers agreement for a year amid the Russian-Ukraine war, but Russia is reportedly unhappy with some aspects of the arrangements

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

Against the backdrop of relieving some fears over a deepening global food security crisis, the United Nations (UN) top officials last Friday held talks with Russian officials in Geneva, Switzerland.

The continued consultations were focused on the Black Sea agreements on exporting grain and fertilizers, a few days before the deals expire.

The UN Headquarters in New York

The UN’s humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths and Rebecca Grynspan, Head of the UN’s Trade and Development Agency UNCTAD, were expected to a high-level delegation from Moscow, led by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin, agency report said.

A UNCTAD Spokeswoman  Thursday, November 9, had told AFP, that “they will continue ongoing consultations in support of the efforts by the (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the full implementation of the two agreements signed on July 22 in Istanbul.

“It is hoped that the discussions will advance progress made in facilitating the unimpeded export of food and fertilisers originating from the Russian Federation to the global markets.”

It was learnt that the 120-day Black Sea Grain Initiative, a UN-led deal agreed with Moscow, in Russia, and Kyiv, in Ukraine, lapses November 19 this year.

Two agreements brokered by the UN and Turkey were signed on July 22 — to allow the export of Ukrainian grain blocked by Russia’s war in the country, and the export of Russian food and fertilizers despite Western sanctions imposed on Moscow.

UN seeks renewal of agreements

Meanwhile, the United Nations has noted that the global body will like to renew the agreements for a year.

However, Russia is unhappy with some aspects of the arrangements, and how they work, fuelling doubt as to whether the Kremlin would want to carry on with the deal, according to report.

One of the agreements, brokered by Turkey and the UN has been working quite well, allowing millions of tonnes of grain to leave Ukrainian ports, and relieving some fears over a deepening global food security crisis.

Ukraine is one of the world’s top grain producers and the Russian invasion had blocked 20 million tonnes of grain in its ports until the safe passage deal was agreed.

But Moscow has complained its grain and fertilizer exports continue to face issues over sanctions imposed after its invasion of Ukraine, despite the Black Sea agreements that called for sanctions to spare agriculture-related products.

Russia has yet to decide whether to extend the Black Sea agreements beyond November 19, report stated.

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