24 Aug 2023 16:10

Russian FM says planning to meet with UN secretary-general, grain deal to be discussed

JOHANNESBURG. Aug 24 (Interfax) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has announced plans to meet with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday to discuss the Black Sea Grain Initiative among other issues.

"I will meet with the [UN] secretary-general later today and, of course, will discuss this with him," Lavrov told reporters in Johannesburg on the sidelines of the BRICS summit.

For now, Russia sees no readiness of the West to meet its conditions for reinstating the grain deal, Lavrov said.

"We do not see any signs just yet. All the West is doing is urging us to support the UN propositions," he said.

"As soon as everything promised to us is done, we are ready to reinstate the Ukrainian part of the package in a snap, on the same day and the same hour," Lavrov said.

"It was a package indeed and we signed up for this as a decision with two interconnected parts," he said.

The grain deal was concluded in Istanbul on July 22, 2022. Two documents were signed by the UN, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine to open a grain corridor from three Ukrainian ports (Chernomorsk, Odessa and Yuzhny) and to lift restrictions on Russian food and fertilizer exports. The initiative was extended for 120 days in November 2022 until March 2023, and two two-month extensions followed. Moscow forwarded its objections to the grain deal's further extension to Ankara, Kiev and the UN on July 17.