Russia waiting for "guarantees" on Black Sea grain deal before rejoining, foreign minister says

Russia waiting for "guarantees" on Black Sea grain deal before rejoining, foreign minister says
# 31 August 2023 21:32 (UTC +04:00)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says that Russia is ready to return to the Black Sea Grain Initiative as soon as what Moscow claims to be promises become concrete guarantees, APA reports citing CNN.

Russia withdrew from the initiative in July, nearly a year after it was brokered by Türkiye and the United Nations to guarantee safe passage of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea and help facilitate Russian exports of grain and fertilizer.

Russia has persistently complained that benefits due under the agreement never materialized.

Speaking in Moscow after talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan, Lavrov said that "we conveyed to our Turkish partners our understanding of what needs to be done in the West, first of all, to restore the viability of this initiative."

"There is still not a single guarantee in this (proposal); there is only a promise to try faster and try more actively, and everything comes down to the fact that the West is hindering the solution of problems that impede more active export of Russian grain and Russian fertilizers," Lavrov said.

"President (Vladimir) Putin has repeatedly, officially and clearly said that as soon as measures are taken — not on negotiations on the Russian part of the Black Sea package, but measures to solve all those problems that have remained unfulfilled, despite the promises of the UN secretary general, whose efforts we appreciate — but as soon as the talks turn into a concrete decision on the same day, we are ready to resume the Ukrainian part of the grain package," Lavrov said.

"I can only confirm that as soon as there are not promises, but guarantees — with a concrete result that can be put into practice tomorrow — the implementation of this package will resume in full," he added.

The Russian foreign minister said he and Fidan had also discussed Putin's initiative to organize "deliveries of up to a million tonnes of Russian grain to Türkiye at a reduced price for processing at Turkish enterprises and shipment to the most needy countries in the world." Lavrov said Qatar was prepared to help finance the initiative.