Deputy foreign minister says preliminary contacts ‘underway,’ meetings of experts from Russia, Türkiye and Qatar ‘on agenda’
The Russian deputy foreign minister said on Thursday the process to supply 1 million tons of grain to countries in need in Africa has begun.
“So far, preliminary contacts are underway, and meetings at the expert level of the three sides (Russia, Türkiye and Qatar) are on the agenda,” Sergey Vershinin told the Russian state news agency TASS.
He said the Russian-Turkish-Qatari initiative is not an alternative to the Black Sea grain deal, which Russia did not extend in July, but an independent project aimed at helping the countries in need.
According to him, under the 2022 grain deal, most part of the cargo was forage corn and grain, and their point of destination was beyond countries in need.
“We have talked about this publicly, and now we mean to meet these needs of such countries together with our partners,” he said.
Separately, in an interview with Rossiya-24 TV channel, Vershinin reiterated Russia’s position to resume the grain deal “as soon as there is real progress on the export of agricultural products from Russia to world markets.”
“For us results are important, not promises to do something but something that is done,” he emphasized.
On July 17, Russia decided not to extend the term of its participation in the pact, brokered by Türkiye and the UN to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports that were paused after Moscow’s “special military operation” in February 2022.
Moscow has repeatedly complained that the West has not met its obligations, and there are restrictions on payments, logistics and insurance on shipments of its own food and fertilizer exports.
Russia will return to the deal as soon as its demands, which include the Russian Agricultural Bank being reconnected to SWIFT, are met, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters after the G-20 summit in New Delhi on Sunday.
Source : AA