Title: UN Secretary-General Proposes Concrete Steps to Revive Black Sea Grain Deal
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has submitted a set of concrete proposals to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov aimed at reestablishing a deal that will enable the safe export of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea. The move comes after Russia withdrew from the agreement in July, citing obstacles to its own food and fertilizer exports and inadequate Ukrainian grain distribution to countries in need.
Guterres’ letter to Lavrov coincides with an impending meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, where the topic of Black Sea grain exports will hold prime importance. The Black Sea grain deal, initially established to address a global food crisis aggravated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, remains crucial for ensuring a steady supply of food to those in need.
The UN Secretary-General believes that his proposal could serve as a foundation for the renewal of the agreement. Recognizing the need for a collaborative effort that benefits all parties involved, Guterres emphasizes the urgency of finding a working solution.
However, a Russian diplomat responded dismissively to Guterres’ letter, describing it as a reiteration of previous UN ideas that failed to gain traction. Sergei Lavrov echoed this sentiment, stating that Russia has yet to receive the necessary guarantees to resume the Black Sea grain deal.
Russia has expressed its demands for improvements to its own grain and fertilizer exports, as well as the reconnection of Russian Agricultural Bank to the SWIFT international payments system. In response, Guterres asserts that there are tangible solutions available to ensure more efficient access for Russian food and fertilizers to global markets at fair prices.
Ultimately, the priority remains finding a positive resolution that benefits all parties involved. With the hope of resuming the Black Sea grain deal, Guterres’ proposals offer a potential pathway forward, prompting further discussions between key decision-makers in the days to come.
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