24 Aug 2023 20:32

Russia ready to rejoin grain deal if commitments to it honored, Lavrov tells Guterres

MOSCOW. Aug 24 (Interfax) - Russia is ready to resume implementation of the Black Sea grain deal provided all obligations to Moscow are fulfilled, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres at their meeting on Thursday, the ministry's website stated.

"In reply to a question from the UN secretary-general about the prospects of resuming the Black Sea Initiative, Lavrov set out the position aired by the President of Russia about Moscow being ready to return to participating in it only in the event that all obligations to the Russian side are genuinely fulfilled," the website said.

The pair discussed a number of UN-related issues, with Lavrov "reaffirming Russia's determination to develop mutually beneficial cooperation with it [the UN]," while "stressing the need for the UN Secretariat to adhere strictly to the principle of impartiality for international officials enshrined in Article 100 of its Charter," the ministry said.

Both sides noted the importance of further strengthening the UN's central role in global politics, it said.

The meeting took place on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Johannesburg.

The grain deal was signed 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.