The UN Secretary-General António Guterres on April 24 proposed an extension and expansion of an agreement with Russia that has allowed Ukraine to transport grain from its Black Sea ports, the New York Times reports citing a summary of a meeting he held with Russia’s foreign minister.
Russia has recently said it would not extend the deal beyond mid-May.
Since the Black Sea grain deal was agreed upon last summer, Ukraine has exported 28.7 million tons of grain via some of its Black Sea ports, of which 6.7 million tons went to China.
Guterres outlined a proposal to improve and expand the agreement in a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a U.N. summary of his meeting with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the UN headquarters.
The Russian state news agency TASS reported that Lavrov had confirmed receipt of the letter, saying that it “needs to be studied.”
No details of the proposal were disclosed publicly, but the U.N. summary said that similar letters had been sent to the grain agreement’s other signatories, Turkey and Ukraine.