By Michelle Nichols
UNITED NATIONS, May 5 (Reuters) – Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations on Friday failed to approve new vessels under a deal allowing for safe Black Sea exports of Ukrainian grain, Moscow said on May 18 threatened to cancel its own grain and fertilizer exports due to obstacles.
Daily inspections of previously approved vessels will continue, UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters. Officials from the four parties are forming a Joint Coordination Center (JCC) in Istanbul to implement the Black Sea Agreement agreed in July.
In an excerpt from a letter As seen by Reuters, Russia last month told its JCC peers it would not approve any new ships to participate unless their operators guarantee the transits will be conducted by May 18 — “the expected date of… closure.” “.
Ukraine provides a daily list of ships to be admitted. Once approved, these ships will then be inspected by JCC officials near Turkey before proceeding via a maritime humanitarian corridor to a Ukrainian Black Sea port to collect their cargo and return to Turkish waters for a final inspection.
According to JCC data, there is currently one ship approved for entry inspection and 25 ships awaiting exit inspection – all in Turkish waters; There are 13 ships in Ukrainian ports and there are 5 ships in transit towards Ukraine and 2 ships in transit back to Turkey.
According to the Ukrainian Seaports website, eight ships are applying for a permit from the JCC.
The United Nations and Turkey brokered the Black Sea Grain Export Agreement to help deal with a global food crisis exacerbated by Moscow’s war in Ukraine. At the same time, Russia accepted a three-year period act in which the UN agreed to help remove all obstacles to their grain and fertilizer exports.
While these Russian exports are not subject to Western sanctions imposed after Ukraine’s February 2022 invasion, Moscow says payment, logistics and insurance restrictions are a barrier to shipments.
Russia has said it will not extend the pact beyond May 18 unless its list of demands to remove those obstacles are met.
Senior UN Trade Envoy Rebeca Grynspan met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin in Moscow on Friday to discuss UN efforts “to facilitate the unhindered export of Russian food and fertilizers, including ammonia,” Haq said.
The deputy defense ministers of Russia, Ukraine and Turkey are scheduled to meet next week to discuss the grain deal.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Grant McCool)
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