There are no encouraging prospects for extending the Black Sea grain export initiative at the moment, a source familiar with the negotiations told the Russian RIA state news agency in remarks published early on Tuesday.
UN aid chief Martin Griffiths said on Monday efforts will continue in coming days to extend a deal allowing for the safe Black Sea export of Ukrainian grain, a pact Russia has threatened to quit on May 18 over obstacles to its grain and fertilizer exports.
“Technical-level” discussions will continue, the unidentified source told RIA, but when asked about the prospects for extending the grain deal, the source said that “at the moment there are no encouraging prospect”.
“It’s hard for me to say what will happen tomorrow. Perhaps progress will be made, but if we are talking about today, there are no (prospects),” RIA cited the source as saying.
“But we all want and are determined to ensure that the work of the mechanism does not stop.”
The United Nations and Turkey brokered the Black Sea grain deal in July last year to help tackle a global food crisis that has been aggravated by Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, one of the world’s leading grain exporters. At the same time, the United Nations agreed to help Moscow facilitate its own agricultural shipments.
While Russian exports of food and fertilizer are not subject to Western sanctions imposed following the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, Moscow says restrictions on payments, logistics and insurance have amounted to a barrier to shipments.
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