U.S. urges Russia to intensify cooperation on grain deal

U.S. Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield urged Russia to step up work on the grain deal

U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield accused Russia of delaying inspections of ships under the Black Sea grain initiative and urged Moscow to step up cooperation.

Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Alexei Yerkhov, said Friday that there has been no progress in implementing a memorandum of understanding between Russia and the UN on normalizing Russian agricultural exports. He noted that Russian producers and suppliers still face blocked bank payments, exorbitant insurance tariffs and blocked access to ports.

“Operations have not kept pace with the high global demand for Black Sea grain. Because of Russia’s purposeful slowdown in inspections, dozens of ships are waiting to depart and dozens more are waiting to be inspected before they can deliver grain,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

“Today I ask council members to join us in urging Russia to increase its cooperation immediately,” she added

She said the delay is 2.5 million tons of grain that are idle.

The grain deal, which was signed last July 22 by representatives of Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Nations, involves the export of Ukrainian grain, food and fertilizers by the Black Sea from three ports, including Odessa. The contract expired on November 18, but implied an automatic extension for 120 days in the absence of objections from the parties. The deal itself was part of a package deal that included unblocking Russian exports of food and fertilizers, which Moscow said had not been fulfilled. At the same time, there were assurances from the UN that the restrictions would be lifted.

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