EU supports UN and Türkiye in extending Black Sea Grains Agreement Ship’s crew

Reuters

By Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS, July 13 (Reuters) – The European Commission is backing the United Nations and Turkey to extend a deal allowing Black Sea exports of Ukrainian grain – which could expire on Monday – and is open to “everybody’s scrutiny.” Solutions,” a European Union spokesman said on Thursday.

The EU is I’m considering a connection A subsidiary of the Russian Agricultural Bank (Rosselkhozbank) has connected to the international payment network SWIFT to facilitate grain and fertilizer transactions, sources familiar with the discussions told Reuters on Wednesday.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres suggested in a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday that Moscow should allow the Black Sea Grains Agreement to continue for several months to give the EU time to connect a subsidiary of Rosselkhozbank to SWIFT, two sources who are familiar with the discussions told Reuters.

The European Commission’s priority is to ensure Ukrainian grain can enter the world market and it calls on all parties to extend the Black Sea Agreement, a European Union spokesman said in Brussels on Thursday.

“We support the talks held by the United Nations and Turkey as needed,” said the EU spokesman. “We are of course open to consider any solutions that contribute to our goal, while ensuring that Russia’s ability to wage war in Ukraine is limited as much as possible.”

One of Moscow’s central demands is the reconnection of Rosselkhozbank to SWIFT. It was cut off by the European Union in June 2022 because of the February 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said last week that Moscow would not be happy with the alternative proposal because it would take “many months” to open a subsidiary and another three months to connect it to SWIFT.

Russia has threatened to withdraw from the Black Sea Grains Agreement several demands The requirements to send their own grain and fertilizers abroad were not met. The last ship sailing under the Black Sea Agreement is currently loading its cargo in Ukraine’s port of Odessa ahead of Monday’s deadline.

This was stated by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Thursday not heard on new proposals on the Black Sea Grains Agreement when asked about the remarks by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan who said Putin had made some suggestions.

The United Nations and Turkey negotiated the Black Sea Grains Initiative with Russia and Ukraine in July 2022 to help alleviate a global food crisis exacerbated by Moscow’s invasion and blockade of Ukrainian ports.

At the same time, to persuade Russia to agree to the Black Sea Agreement, a three-year memorandum of understanding was signed in which UN officials agreed to help Russia get its food and fertilizer exports to foreign markets.

While Russian food and fertilizer exports are not subject to Western sanctions imposed in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine, restrictions on payments, logistics and insurance are impeding supplies, Moscow said.

To circumvent the lack of access to SWIFT, UN officials created the US bank JPMorgan Chase & Co. JPM.N Processing some Russian grain export payments with assurances by the US government.

The United Nations also works with the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank). to create a platformto help settle transactions for Russian grain and fertilizer exports to Africa, the top UN trade official told Reuters last month.

Britain has also “worked very closely with the City of London to facilitate a very complex payment system” for Russian grain, said British Ambassador to the UN, Barbara Woodward.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023.

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