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Egypt president urges Russia to restore Black Sea grain deal

Jul 05, 2023Jul 05, 2023

Moscow, Jul 28 (EFE).- Egypt President Abdelfatah al Sisi on Friday urged Russia to unblock the grain deal that would allow the export of Ukrainian agricultural products through the Black Sea after Moscow withdrew from the agreement last week.

Speaking at the second Russia-Africa summit being held in St. Petersburg, the Egyptian leader said it was ‘essential to reach an agreement” to revive the Black Sea grain initiative after Russia exited the deal claiming the West and United Nations had not kept their end of the bargain due to sanctions that were affecting Moscow’s agricultural sector and exports.

Al Sisi reminded Russian President Vladimir Putin that many African countries relied on the passage of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea and that an “urgent solution” to global food supplies was needed.

Since exiting the agreement Russia has consistently targeted Ukrainian port infrastructure in the Odesa region and grain terminals through daily drone and aerial attacks.

On Tuesday, Russia said that it was “impossible” to revive the grain deal saying that the conditions of the agreement had been breached.

At the time of withdrawing from the deal on July 17, Moscow said it could no longer guarantee the safe passage of ships traveling through the northwestern Black Sea.

The deal, known as the Black Sea initiative, was agreed upon by Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the UN last year along with a parallel deal agreed between the UN and Moscow regarding Russian grain and fertilizer exports.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia would “immediately resume the agreement” once commitments to Moscow are met, according to Tass news agency.

Among other key demands, the Kremlin seeks the Russian agricultural bank Rosselkhozbank to be reconnected to the SWIFT payments system, removal of restrictions on logistic and transport insurance, agriculture machinery spare parts and Russian exports of ammonia and fertilizers.

The Russia-Africa summit brings together some 50 African delegations.

This year, just 17 African heads of state or government have flown to St Petersburg, a vast drop from the 43 that attended the 2019 summit.

Moscow has blamed Western interference on the turnout with Peskov saying there had been an “absolutely blatant, obnoxious interference by the US, France, and other countries” to “put pressure on the leadership of these (African) countries in order to prevent their active participation in the forum.”EFE