UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, making a proposal for the further implementation of the agreements on food and fertilizer exports from Russia and Ukraine, a UN spokesman said on Wednesday, reported Xinhua.
In the letter, Guterres outlined a proposal "aiming to harmonize the vital further implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding with the vital need to keep the Black Sea Initiative operational," Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman, told reporters.
The objective is to remove hurdles affecting financial transactions through the Russian Agricultural Bank, a major concern expressed by Russia, and simultaneously allow for the continued flow of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea, he said.
"The secretary-general remains engaged with all relevant parties on this issue and expresses his willingness to further engage on his proposal with the Russian Federation," said Dujarric.
Russia and Ukraine signed separately with Turkey and the United Nations the Black Sea Grain Initiative in Istanbul in July 2022, which allows the export of Ukrainian grain and other agricultural products from Black Sea ports.
The initiative, initially in effect for 120 days, was extended in mid-November 2022 for another 120 days till March 18, 2023. At that point, Russia only agreed to extend the deal for 60 days. On May 17, Russia agreed to extend the deal for another 60 days.
As a parallel agreement, Russia and the United Nations signed a memorandum of understanding on the facilitation of Russian food and fertilizer exports. However, little progress has been made on this part of the deal, prompting dissatisfaction from Russia.
- UN chief
- Russian president
- Grain deal