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7 Jun, 2009 14:47

Egypt ships back Russian grain, Moscow calls the move a provocation

Egypt ships back Russian grain, Moscow calls the move a provocation

The Egyptian prosecutor’s office has ordered to ship back a load of Russian grain quarantined last month on quality concerns. Russia has labeled the move ‘provocative’.

52.000 tonnes of wheat worth more than US$9 million were seized after an inspection check reportedly found insects and heavy metals in the grain.

Egypt, one of the world’s biggest importers of grain, has demanded that the wheat be returned, along with a refund of the shipment.

Russia insists that it exports only high-quality grain and is not responsible for quality concerns, said Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov, speaking at the World Grain Forum in St. Petersburg.

“We send high-quality grain to Egypt and these are insinuations. This is a deliberate delay which has nothing to do with us,” Zubkov said.

The Russian Grain Union has called the move provocative, and sees in it an attempt to lower the prices offered by the suppliers.