Grain ship “Razoni” crossing the Bosphorus, Turkey. Yasin Akgul/AFP
Discussions on an international deal on grain exports from Ukraine, whose continuation after Saturday seems uncertain due to disagreements between Moscow and Kiev over its duration, continue, the UN said on Friday.
“The agreement provides for a 120-day extension. Discussions are ongoing and we are not going to speculate on what will happen,” said Alessandra Velucci, UN spokesperson in Geneva, at a regular press briefing.
Earlier this week, the United Nations indicated that this Black Sea Grain Initiative should be extended as it runs after March 18, even if Russia halved the duration to 60 days.
Moscow is actually complaining that the other side of the deal to ease the export of its own fertilizers is much less successful than the Initiative, and accuses Kyiv’s Western allies of blocking it.
Kyiv condemned Russia’s statement, accusing it of “contradicting” the Initiative and kicking the ball back to Ankara and the United Nations, its “guarantors”.
Ms. Velucci stressed that the UN “is not one of the three signatories of the agreement.” “Three parties to the agreement are member states (Russia, Ukraine and Turkey) and the United Nations is a witness to this agreement,” she said.
The Initiative, initialed in July, provides in its terms for “automatic extension for the same period (120 days) unless either party notifies the other of its intention to terminate or modify it.”
The UN has been reiterating since Monday that it is doing everything it can to maintain the mechanism that helped calm skyrocketing prices following the February 24, 2022 invasion of Ukraine.
Ms. Velucci noted that UN Secretary-General António Guterres himself took part in these discussions. “We are committed at all levels, yes. You know that this is an initiative of the Secretary General, but other high-ranking UN officials are also involved. Everyone is mobilized on this important issue,” she said.
“We are all participating in these discussions and we want to ensure the integrity and continuity of this agreement,” said the UN representative in Geneva.
The grain deal eased the global food crisis caused by the war in Ukraine, one of the world’s largest producers.
Since July, more than 29.1 million tons of grain have left its ports. On the other hand, a very small part of the 260,000 tons of Russian fertilizer stored in European ports has been released.
On the European market, prices for wheat and corn have returned to pre-war levels on the European market, while oilseeds (rapeseed, sunflower, etc.) are much lower.
“For now, the market is betting that we will have a 120-day extension. If this is not the case, the 60 days proposed by Moscow will be used to continue negotiations for a longer extension,” commented Edward de Saint-Denis, broker at Plantureux & Associés.
Sebastien Poncelet, an analyst at Agritel, stressed that “if we reach the end of the agreement without progress, by staying on the Russian proposal for 60 days, (…) this will be a risk factor that will be taken into account. markets account.
Michael Zuzolo of Global Commodity Analytics and Consulting calculated that 60 days is “not long enough” to charter a ship and insure the cargo.
Source: L Orient Le Jour
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