A top United Nations (UN) official says they are continuing to play down concerns raised by Russian Federation after complaints that Western sanctions continue to hamper its grain and fertilizer exports.
In July, with the mediation of the UN and Turkey, a package deal was concluded on the restoration of the export of Ukrainian grain from three Black Sea ports, as well as the promotion of similar Russian exports.
Western countries are adamant that their sanctions against Russia do not cover grain and fertilizer exports, but Moscow says the punitive measures are having a staggering effect on its supplies.
The agreement is seen as a key link to lower global food prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last February.
Russia claims that none of its grain and fertilizer has been exported under the UN-brokered deal, arguing that logistical sanctions and restrictions on its ships calling at Western ports or insurance have limited access to world markets. But the UN has shown that they are very active in this issue.
“We have made significant progress on all of these issues, but there are challenges that still need to be addressed on these three issues in insurance and financing, as well as in the maritime industry. We have made progress because the US and the EU have provided clarifications as part of the sanctions
“And it has been clarified that food and fertilizers are not sanctioned to insure ships carrying food and fertilizers. It was also clarified that banks can carry out transactions when the subject is food and fertilizers, and that ships with food and fertilizers can enter ports, especially European ports, if they are transporting food and fertilizers,” said Secretary of State. Member General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Rebecca Greenspan.
The United Nations says the export deal is a commercial one – driven by humanitarian imperatives – but it must involve the private sector and commercial shipping.
“We have to go, we have to talk and explain, because undoubtedly, as I said, the market has shown the terrible effect of the private sector. So that’s the process that we’ve been working on and that we’ve been focusing on from the very beginning specifically to meet the terms of the MoUs that were signed in Istanbul. And we will continue to do so; it’s not like one stroke will solve all problems,” Greenspan adds.
Since the signing of the agreement in Istanbul in July, almost 3 million tons of goods have been exported from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports.
“It’s difficult to keep these ships moving at times, but we’ve had no major incidents, which has given confidence to the shipping industry and the people who buy that you can actually send ships, you know, across the Black Sea, load them up and bring them back . And what we need to do is hope that we attract more ships to that part of the trade. We will need to make sure that we can proceed with their review in time. Our inspections have more or less tracked and matched the number of ships we have passed because we don’t want ships to wait an excessive amount of time as that would lead to bad news. But so far so good. And, you know, I think there’s enough encouraging signs that we’re going to see uptake,” says UN Black Sea Grains Initiative Coordinator Amir Abdullah.
The 120-day deal is set to be extended by all parties when that period expires near the end of the year.
Rebecca Greenspan also acknowledged that while international food prices fell as a result of the agreement, domestic prices did not necessarily follow suit, often due to currency devaluations or higher interest rates as a result of rising inflation. among other concerns.
And taking into account that the reduction of prices at the domestic level is the main task of the agreement, the unhindered export of food products and fertilizers from the Russian Federation should be more specific.