Johannesburg: African leaders involved in peace talks over Ukraine have called for the unlocking of Russian grain and fertiliser exports to revive a key Black Sea grain deal, South Africa said on Thursday.
The group also called for the UN to take action to release 200 000 tons of Russian fertiliser blocked in European Union seaports, said Vincent Magwenya, a spokesman for President Cyril Ramaphosa.”The leaders called for specific steps to remove obstacles to Russian grain and fertiliser exports, thus allowing the resumption of the full implementation of the Black Sea package initiative,” Magwenya told a press briefing in Pretoria.
Russia last month withdrew from the agreement brokered by the UN and Turkey that allowed Ukraine grain exports through the Black Sea, leading to a spike in grain prices that hit poorer countries hard.
Moscow is demanding guarantees on another agreement concerning its own exports, in particular of fertiliser components.
The call to satisfy some of the Kremlin’s requests was made by Ramaphosa and six other heads of state, including Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt and Macky Sall of Senegal, after talks with Putin in Saint Petersburg last week, Magwenya said.
It comes as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused Moscow of “blackmail” over its withdrawal from the grain initiative, and the European Union called on G20 countries to push the Kremlin to resume it.
Russia in recent days pounded seaports in Ukraine’s Odesa region that were key for the grain exports granted safe passage under the deal.
Egypt, South Africa and Senegal are part of a seven-country African diplomatic effort to broker peace between Kyiv and Moscow.
Follow African Insider on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
Picture: Getty Images
For more African news, visit Africaninsider.com