Russia, UN start grain deal consultations in Geneva

GENEVA: A Russian delegation and UN representatives began another round of talks in Geneva on Friday to discuss a memorandum that was signed...


GENEVA: A Russian delegation and UN representatives began another round of talks in Geneva on Friday to discuss a memorandum that was signed in Istanbul in July of last year to supply food and fertilizer to the global market, Russian and UN officials told TASS.

The Russian delegation is led by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin, and the UN is represented by the Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Rebeca Grynspan.

The specific venue of the meeting in Geneva and its detailed agenda haven’t been disclosed.

The Russian permanent office in Geneva and a UNCTAD spokeswoman told TASS the meeting was underway.

"The discussions are proceeding as planned. There’s nothing else to add at this point," the UNCTAD spokeswoman said.

Ammonia pipeline explosion

The current consultations were precipitated by an explosion at the Togliatti-Odessa ammonia pipeline. Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov said Ukrainian saboteurs blew up a section of the Togliatti-Odessa ammonia pipeline in the Kharkov Region on the evening of June 5, injuring a number of people. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Moscow will leave no stone unturned in its investigation of the incident, but it was obvious that Kiev was never interested in the resumption of the pipeline’s operations.

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday that the attack on the pipeline would make it harder to extend the grain deal. He said Russia was unaware how much damage had been done to the pipeline and what Kiev planned to do next. The spokesman said the resumption of the pipeline’s operations was an "integral part" of the grain deal where it concerned Russia.


The grain deal

Agreements to export food and fertilizers were signed on July 22, 2022 in Istanbul. They were originally meant to last 120 days and were extended for another 120 days in November. Russia announced on March 18 that the deal was extended for another 60 days, warning that this would be ample time to evaluate the execution of the memorandum that had been signed with the UN.

Following the talks between the delegations of Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and the UN held in Istanbul on May 10-11, Vershinin said that the grain deal would be terminated if Moscow did not receive guarantees by May 18 that its demands would be met with respect to the export of agricultural products and fertilizers, reconnecting Rosselkhozbank to SWIFT and some others. On May 17, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the grain deal had been extended for two months starting May 18. He thanked Russia, Ukraine and the UN for their constructive approach.

The Russian Foreign Ministry previously said that the part of the agreement that concerns obligations to Moscow hadn’t been fulfilled. Russia, in particular, insisted on allowing its ships to call at foreign ports, normalizing the situation with dry cargo insurance, reconnecting Rosselkhozbank to the SWIFT interbank payment system and restarting the Togliatti-Odessa ammonia pipeline.


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Local Glob: Russia, UN start grain deal consultations in Geneva
Russia, UN start grain deal consultations in Geneva
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