UN says it is doing everything possible to continue Black Sea grain deal
The United Nations is “doing everything possible” to make sure a deal allowing the export of Ukrainian grain from Black Sea ports continues, UN aid chief Martin Griffiths told the Security Council on Friday, a day before the pact is due to expire.
He also said “meaningful progress” had been made on a separate pledge by the United Nations to help facilitate Russian food and fertilizer exports, “but impediments remain, notably with regard to payment systems.”
“It is vital for global food security that both of these agreements continue and should be fully implemented,” Griffiths said.
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The pact was brokered with Russia and Ukraine by the United Nations and Turkey in July - and renewed in November - to combat a global food crisis that was fueled in part by Russia’s February 24, 2022, invasion of neighboring Ukraine and Black Sea blockade.
The Kremlin on Friday said Russia was extending the agreement for 60 days, echoing previous statements by the Russian foreign ministry.
Ukraine insists on a 120-day extension of an agreement allowing the safe export of grain from Black Sea ports, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said.
The deal is set to expire on Saturday.
Ukraine has so far exported nearly 25 million tonnes of mainly corn and wheat under the deal, according to the United Nations. The top primary destinations for shipments have been China, Italy, Spain, Turkey and the Netherlands.
Before the war, Ukraine, sometimes described as the breadbasket of Europe, was the world’s fourth-largest corn exporter and fifth-biggest wheat seller. It supplied mainly poor countries in Africa and the Middle East that depend on grain imports.
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