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UN official visits Moscow for talks on grain exports

by Abbey Fenbert October 10, 2023 5:02 AM 2 min read
Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary-General for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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High-ranking United Nations trade representative Rebeca Grynspan visited Moscow on Oct. 9 to discuss exports of grain and fertilizer, Reuters reported.

U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said the goal of the talks was to ensure global food markets "unimpeded access" to grain shipments from Ukraine and Russia.

The discussions also included U.N. aid chief Martin Griffiths, who participated virtually.

In July 2023, Russia withdrew from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, imposing a blockade on Ukrainian shipping routes and targeting  port infrastructure with airstrikes.

The move poses a major threat to global food security. According to a U.K. intelligence report, Russia has "already destroyed enough grain to feed more than one million people for a year."

The U.N. hopes it can negotiate a revival of the grain deal, which it originally brokered along with Turkey after Russia's full-scale invasion in February 2022. In March 2023, the U.N. was able to convince Russia to agree to an extension of the agreement.

Since the termination of the deal in July, progress has stalled. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres proposed restoring Russia's access to the SWIFT international payment system in exchange for another extension, and later offered to improve Russia's grain and fertilizer experts.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the U.N. proposals "not realistic."

Guterres is determined "to facilitate the unimpeded access to global markets for food products and fertilizers from both Ukraine and the Russian Federation," Dujarric said.

According to Dujarric, the Oct. 9 talks in Moscow "are taking place with this goal in mind."

Ukraine war latest: Russia provides Hamas with Western weapons captured in Ukraine, Kyiv says
Key developments on Oct. 9: * Military intelligence: Russia gives Hamas weapons captured in Ukraine to discredit Kyiv * Military intelligence confirms missile attack on targets in Russian-occupied Crimea * Kuleba: ‘If Ukraine loses the war, it will be end of Europe’ * Shmyhal: 6 million people…
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