UN says it is doing all it can to pursue grain deal with Ukraine

By Michelle Nichols

UN, March 17 (Reuters)The UN is “doing everything possible” to ensure that a deal allowing the export of Ukrainian grain from Black Sea ports continues, UN aid chief Martin Griffiths said on Friday. , to the Security Council, one day before the expiration of the pact.

He also said “significant progress” had been made on a separate UN commitment to help facilitate Russian food and fertilizer exports, “but hurdles remain, particularly around payment systems.” .

“It is vital to global food security that these two agreements continue and are fully implemented,” Griffiths said.

The pact was negotiated with Russia and Ukraine by the United Nations and Turkey in July – and renewed in November – to tackle a global food crisis that was fueled in part by the February 24, 2022 Russian invasion of neighboring Ukraine and the blockade of the Black Sea.

Ukraine is insisting on a 120-day extension of a deal allowing the safe export of grain from Black Sea ports, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal has said. The deal is due to expire on Saturday.

Before the war, Ukraine, sometimes described as the breadbasket of Europe, was the world’s fourth largest exporter of corn and the fifth largest seller of wheat. It mainly supplied poor countries in Africa and the Middle East that depend on grain imports.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; editing by Costas Pitas and Grant McCool)

((Costas.Pitas@thomsonreuters.com; Reuters Messaging: costas.pitas.thomsonreuters@reuters.net and @Cpitas on Twitter))

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