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6 May, 2023 06:16

Grain deal talks in deadlock – UN

The agreement, which allows the safe export of Ukrainian grain though the Black Sea, is set to expire on May 18
Grain deal talks in deadlock – UN

Another round of talks aimed at prolonging the Black Sea grain deal has ended in deadlock, Farhan Haq, the deputy spokesperson for UN secretary-general, told the media.

Technical personnel from Russia, Türkiye, Ukraine, and the UN met in Istanbul on Friday, ahead of a senior-level meeting scheduled for next week.

According to the UN spokesperson, the parties failed to agree on the authorization of new vessels to join the Black Sea shipments. Nevertheless, daily inspection work on the previously authorized vessels will continue.

“We urge all parties to continue their discussions, overcome operational challenges and work towards the full implementation and continuation of the initiative,” Farhan Haq said.

Last year, the UN and Türkiye brokered an agreement which allows the safe export of Ukrainian grain though the Black Sea. The deal also requires Western countries to unblock Russian grain and fertilizer exports.

In March, Russia agreed to extend the deal by 60 days, to May 18.

The Kremlin has said that not all parties are fulfilling their part of the agreement. Moscow has also complained that wealthy countries, rather than those at serious risk of food shortages, receive the majority of agricultural goods from Ukraine.

Among its conditions, Moscow has demanded that the Russian Agricultural Bank (Rosselkhozbank) be reconnected to the international SWIFT payment system. Earlier this week, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that the possibility of allowing the bank to return to SWIFT is part of the discussions on extending the grain deal.

According to Cavusoglu, while the parties are actively collaborating, there are no guarantees that the deal will be extended.

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