The UN confirmed this Saturday the extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, the pact that facilitates the export of grain and other food products from Ukraine despite the Russian naval blockade, although without specifying its duration.
"The Black Sea Grain Initiative, signed in Istanbul on July 22, 2022, has been extended," the organization said in a statement, shortly after Turkey and the Ukrainian government announced the news. The current pact expired this coming midnight.
The UN did not indicate in its announcement the period of this extension, although in recent days it had insisted that the extensions provided for in the initial agreement were always 120 days. According to the Ukrainian Minister of Community Development, Territories and Infrastructure, Oleksandr Kubrakov, that is the time for which the continuity of the Initiative has been agreed, compared to the 60 days that Russia wanted. The Kremlin denounces that its exports of fertilizers - which its agreement with Turkey and the UN were supposed to facilitate - are not reaching global markets, which has been a problem for Moscow since the agreement entered into force in August.
Like the United Nations, the mediator Turkey has not specified the duration of this extension either and according to diplomatic sources there may be some "ambiguity" in this regard, which in this case would have made it easier for the mechanism to continue in force.
The two belligerent countries are major suppliers of wheat, barley, sunflower oil and other cheap food products on which developing nations depend.
The conditions of the pact contemplated its automatic renewal for 120 days unless one of the parties presented objections. This was the case in November when the automatic renewal allowed it to be extended until March 18, and this was expected on this occasion. But on Monday, after a meeting with senior UN officials in Geneva, Moscow said it would only accept a 60-day extension to see if there was progress during that period in the export of its own agricultural products, which have been severely affected. indirectly by Western sanctions.
"If Washington, Brussels and London want to continue exporting through maritime corridors, they should remember that they have two months left to end the sanctions that the logistics chain supports in relation to Russian agricultural exports," the Russian ambassador said yesterday. before the UN, Vasili Nebenzia.
In parallel to the Black Sea agreement, the UN sealed a memorandum with Russia to try to facilitate these sales, which among other things led the Western powers to clarify that their sanctions do not affect these movements.
However, according to the United Nations, Russian exports continue to encounter difficulties, especially due to payment systems and the reluctance of private companies to participate in these operations to avoid possible sanctions violations.
In his statement today, the organization's spokesman, Stéphane Dujarric, stressed that both the Black Sea Initiative and that memorandum are "key to global food security, especially for developing countries."
"We remain firmly committed to the two agreements and call on all parties to redouble their efforts to fully implement them," Dujarric said.
Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, said in a statement that 25 million tons of grains and food reached 45 countries under the initiative, helping to lower prices and stabilize markets.
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