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Russia: West should take away obstacles to its grain exports

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ANKARA, Turkey — Russia could pull out of a wartime deal that enables the export of Ukrainian grain to international markets if the West fails to take away obstacles to Russian agricultural exports, Moscow’s high diplomat urged Friday.

The deal, which was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey in July, unblocked shipments that had been caught in Ukraine‘s blockaded and mined ports, assuaging rising meals costs and menace of starvation in some nations.

A separate settlement aimed to facilitate the export of Russian fertilizers and grain. Moscow has repeatedly complained that the deal didn’t work for Russian agricultural exports, which have had hassle reaching world markets as a consequence of Western sanctions.

Talking at a joint information convention together with his Turkish counterpart, Russian Overseas Minister Sergey Lavrov instructed reporters that Russia agreed final month to increase the deal for 60 days – as an alternative of the 120 days set beneath a earlier extension – to ship a warning sign to the West.

“After we prolonged the deal for 120 days, we noticed no indication that these points might be solved and grew bored with interesting to the conscience of those that decide it,” Lavrov mentioned of Moscow’s dissatisfaction. ”We made a small escalatory transfer and provided to increase the deal just for 60 days on the belief that if there is no such thing as a change in eradicating the obstacles to the exports of Russian fertilizers and grain, we’d suppose whether or not the deal is required.”

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Lavrov shrugged off the West’s argument that Russian meals and fertilizers usually are not topic to sanctions. He famous that “obstacles associated to financing, logistics, transportation and insurance coverage of Russian exports have remained and even have grown harder.”

Consultants say non-public transport and insurance coverage corporations stay cautious about dealing with Russian commodities amid the battle in Ukraine, though Russian wheat shipments had been at or close to file highs in November, December and January, in accordance with monetary knowledge supplier Refinitiv.

Lavrov mentioned the West has successfully blocked the U.N-Turkey settlement on Russian agricultural exports and “that’s why we’ve requested for letters of consolation from sure governments.”

As a substitute of agreeing to a different extension later this yr, Russia could determine to cooperate immediately with Turkey and Qatar to make sure grain will get to the nations that want it.

Turkish Overseas Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, whose nation joined the U.N. and Ukraine in urgent for a 120-day extension earlier than the deal on Ukrainian exports expired final month, mentioned he and Lavrov “agreed that the obstacles to the export of Russian grain and fertilizer needs to be eliminated instantly.”

“We worth the continuation of the deal,” Cavusoglu mentioned. “This isn’t solely necessary for Ukraine’s and Russia’s grain and fertilizer exports. It’s also necessary when it comes to lowering the world meals disaster and particularly the issue skilled by each family on the planet.”

Lavrov’s warning echoed one from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who mentioned final month that Moscow may finish its participation within the initiative if its circumstances weren’t met. Putin mentioned Russia anticipated the facilitation of exports of its personal agricultural merchandise as a part of a bundle settlement.

Lavrov and Cavusoglu additionally mentioned Russian efforts to forge a reconciliation between Turkey and Syria. Earlier this week, Moscow hosted the deputy international ministers of Turkey, Syria and Iran to facilitate the rapprochement.

Turkey has backed armed opposition teams which have sought to overthrow President Bashar Assad’s authorities through the Syrian civil battle. Turkey has management over massive swaths of territory in northwestern Syria, and Damascus is urgent for the withdrawal of Turkish forces from Syria as a prerequisite for a normalization of ties.

Turkey, for its half, is on the lookout for safety ensures, together with relating to Kurdish militants in Syria that Ankara considers to be terrorists.

“We all know that not all points may be settled in a single or two conferences,” Cavusoglu mentioned. “However the dialogue must proceed and it will be useful if the consultations proceed in the identical manner.”


Isachenkov reported from Moscow.


See AP’s full protection of the battle in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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