The United Nations and Russia begin talks on a grain export deal

The United Nations and Russia begin talks on a grain export deal
The United Nations and Russia begin talks on a grain export deal

The United Nations and Russia begin talks on a grain export deal

United Nations spokeswoman Alessandra Vellucci said talks between a Russian delegation and senior officials of the international organization over Moscow’s grievances over the Black Sea Grain Export Initiative began in Geneva on Friday.

The negotiations come just eight days before the planned renewal of the United Nations-Turkey-brokered deal in July. The deal helped avert a global food crisis by allowing food and fertilizer exports from some of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports.

Moscow has indicated its willingness to withdraw from the deal, which could expire on November 19, unless progress is made in addressing its concerns. Russia suspended its participation in the deal at the end of October, but resumed it four days later.

Moscow said its stop was in response to a drone attack on its fleet in Crimea, which Ukraine has blamed. Kyiv has not claimed responsibility for the attack and denies using the grain program’s security corridor for military purposes.

Vellucci said in Geneva that UN Assistance Coordinator Martin Griffiths, who is leading talks on Ukrainian exports, and senior UN Trade Envoy Rebecca Greenspan are meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin at the organization’s Geneva office.

“We hope that these discussions will consolidate progress made in facilitating unhindered food and fertilizer exports from the Russian Federation to world markets,” she said in a news conference.

Vellucci did not say whether an extension of the agreement was on the agenda.

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