Unlock Premium Data: Up to 50% Off InvestingProCLAIM SALE

In letter to Putin, UN chief proposes way forward on Ukraine Black Sea grain deal

Published 04/24/2023, 01:32 PM
Updated 04/24/2023, 05:01 PM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov takes part in a meeting of the CIS Council of Foreign Ministers in Samarkand, Uzbekistan April 14, 2023. Russian Foreign Ministry/Handout via REUTERS

By Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has proposed to Russian President Vladimir Putin a "way forward aimed at the improvement, extension and expansion" of a deal allowing the safe Black Sea export of Ukrainian grain, a U.N. spokesperson said on Monday.

Guterres outlined his proposal in a letter that he asked Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to deliver to Putin, deputy U.N. spokesperson Farhan Haq said in a statement after Guterres and Lavrov met in New York.

Lavrov did not answer questions on his way in or out of the 90-minute meeting with Guterres. Guterres took note of Russia's concerns about its own grain and fertilizer exports, Haq said.

"He provided a detailed report on the progress already achieved in this regard and reiterated the United Nations' commitment to continue working to address remaining issues," Haq said.

Lavrov was quoted by TASS news agency as saying that Moscow would study the letter.

"The secretary general talked about the efforts he is making to move the Russian part of this deal as far as possible," TASS quoted Lavrov as saying. "So far the progress, frankly, is not very noticeable."

Russia has signaled it will not allow the deal - brokered by the U.N. and Turkey and agreed by Russia and Ukraine in July last year - to continue beyond May 18 because a list of demands for its exports has not been met.

Haq said the letter to Putin takes "into account positions recently expressed by the parties and the risks posed by global food insecurity." He said similar letters have also been sent to Ukraine and Turkey.

The deal was intended to help tackle a global food crisis that U.N. officials said had been worsened by Russia's February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

To help persuade Russia to allow Ukraine to resume Black Sea grain exports, a separate three-year pact was also struck in which the U.N. agreed to help Russia export food and fertilizer.

Lavrov is in New York to chair two U.N. Security Council meetings on Monday and Tuesday because Russia holds the monthly rotating presidency of the 15-member body.


The United Nations has said that there were still impediments to the agreement, particularly in relation to payment systems.

Russia's demands include allowing the Russian Agricultural Bank to return to the SWIFT banking system, allowing the supply to Russia of agricultural machinery and spare parts and a lifting of restrictions on insurance.

Moscow also wants access to ports for Russian ships and cargo, a pipeline that delivers Russian ammonia to a Ukrainian Black Sea port to be restarted, and accounts and financial activities of Russian fertilizer companies to be unblocked.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday that late last month Guterres proposed that Turkish banks could help process payments to Russia, but Turkey wanted assurances that its banks would not face sanctions.

Cavusoglu told TV 100 channel that the Turkish Banks Association was working on a possible formula.

During a Security Council meeting on Monday, Guterres urged the parties to continue with both grain and fertilizer agreements.

"They clearly demonstrate that such cooperation is essential to creating greater security and prosperity for all," he said.

China's U.N. Ambassador Zhang Jun told reporters that Beijing would like to see the Ukraine grain deal continue.

© Reuters. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pose for photos as they attended a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on

"Of course, that's beneficial for the whole world."

    China, a strategic partner of Russia, is the largest recipient of grains from Ukraine under the agreement.

Latest comments

Risk Disclosure: Trading in financial instruments and/or cryptocurrencies involves high risks including the risk of losing some, or all, of your investment amount, and may not be suitable for all investors. Prices of cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and may be affected by external factors such as financial, regulatory or political events. Trading on margin increases the financial risks.
Before deciding to trade in financial instrument or cryptocurrencies you should be fully informed of the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite, and seek professional advice where needed.
Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. The data and prices on the website are not necessarily provided by any market or exchange, but may be provided by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual price at any given market, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Fusion Media and any provider of the data contained in this website will not accept liability for any loss or damage as a result of your trading, or your reliance on the information contained within this website.
It is prohibited to use, store, reproduce, display, modify, transmit or distribute the data contained in this website without the explicit prior written permission of Fusion Media and/or the data provider. All intellectual property rights are reserved by the providers and/or the exchange providing the data contained in this website.
Fusion Media may be compensated by the advertisers that appear on the website, based on your interaction with the advertisements or advertisers.
© 2007-2024 - Fusion Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.