Russia ready to negotiate export of trapped Ukrainian grain: Lavrov

Nusa Dua, Indonesia, Jul 8 (EFE).- Russia said Friday that it is willing to negotiate a deal with Kyiv and Turkey to find ways to export trapped Ukrainian grain via the Black Sea.

Russia’s top diplomat, Sergey Lavrov, told reporters at the G20 foreign ministers meeting on the Indonesian island resort of Bali that Moscow was willing to broker solutions to Ukraine’s trapped grain but that first Kyiv must unblock its ports and demine them to ensure the safe passage of vessels.

Lavrov added that “statistics show very clearly that grain locked up in Ukrainian ports constitutes less than 1% of global output and thus has no real effect on food security.”

Russia’s foreign minister said that Russia was ready with Turkey’s help “to ensure safe convoys to the Bosporus strait and further to the Mediterranean Sea and buyers’ markets.”

“The trouble is that our Western colleagues very much want to create some international monitoring mechanism with Nato’s involvement for this process. We perfectly understand their intent,” Lavrov added.

On Thursday, Lavrov held a meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavasoglu, where they discussed “the interaction of Russia and Turkey in the Black Sea,” according to Moscow.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last week that he trusts that in the coming days an agreement will be reached for the export of blocked Ukrainian grain.

Ukraine has accused Moscow of blocking all ports currently occupied by Russia, including Berdyansk and Mariupol. Russia says that it has not prevented maritime transport and that Kyiv must demine the Odesa port.

Lavrov’s attendance at the foreign ministers’ meeting of the world’s 20 most advanced economies has sparked friction among member states and placed the top Russian diplomat in the same room as some of Moscow’s staunchest critics.

On Thursday evening, several member states boycotted the welcome dinner Indonesian authorities had prepared for the visiting foreign dignitaries.

“Yesterday there was a reception offered by the Indonesians, a welcome reception with a concert. They (the G7 ministers) did not come. That is how they understand the protocol, the simple courtesy and the rules of etiquette,” Lavrov told a news conference.

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi did not attend the dinner, since “the international community considers that the relationship with Russia can no longer return to the way it was before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” Seiji Kihara, deputy government spokesman, said from Tokyo.

Russian president Vladimir Putin has not yet confirmed his attendance at the November Bali summit, but the Kremlin has said that Russia will participate and that the president is yet to decide in what form and format.EFE


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