UN chief says he sent letter to Russia's Lavrov to revive grain deal

UN chief Antonio Guterres said Thursday he sent a letter to Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov that presented a "set of concrete proposals" for the creation of conditions for the renewal of the Black Sea grain initiative.

"We have some concrete solutions for the concerns allowing for an effective or more effective access of Russian food and fertilizers to global markets at adequate prices," Guterres told reporters during a news conference at the UN headquarters in New York.

"We believe that the Black Sea initiative has given a very important contribution to make the food markets more adequate to our objectives of food security," he said, adding the deal brought prices down and created conditions for access to global markets of many countries.

"We believe it would be extremely important to renew it. And at the same time, we took into concern the Russian requests, and I believe we presented a proposal that could be the basis for renewal," he said.

But Guterres stressed that renewal "must be stable."

"We cannot have a Black Sea initiative that moves from crisis to crisis from suspension to suspension. We need to have something that works and that works to the benefit of everybody," he said.

Earlier, Lavrov and Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan held talks in Moscow where Fidan said the new proposals could revive the deal.

Türkiye is continuing its efforts to revive the deal and has argued that there is no other alternative.

On July 17, Russia suspended its participation in the deal, brokered by Türkiye and the UN, to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports that were paused after the Ukraine war in February 2022.

Moscow has repeatedly complained that the West has not met its obligations regarding Russia's grain exports. It said restrictions on payments, logistics, and insurance have been a barrier to its shipments.

Guterres was asked about the upcoming UN General Assembly and the possibility of peace in Ukraine, to which he responded: "Hope never ends."

"But I would, of course, be lying if I would say that I believe that we are seeing in the immediate horizon a possibility of peace in the Ukraine. I think that we are not yet there," he said.

"And that is why it is so important to take measures to reduce the dramatically negative impacts of this war."

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