13 Sep 2023 21:55

UN Sec-Gen Guterres to discuss grain deal with Erdogan, Zelensky, Lavrov at UNGA

NEW YORK, UN. Sept 13 (Interfax) - United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that he is ready to make all possible efforts to reinstate the Black Sea Grain Initiative and intends to discuss this issue with representatives of the countries involved in this deal on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

"Next week I'll be receiving [Ukrainian] President [Vladimir] Zelensky, [Turkish] President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan, and [Russian Foreign] Minister [Sergei] Lavrov and obviously, this question will be on the table of our discussions," Guterres said at a press conference.

"I am not going to say whether I am optimistic or pessimistic, the only thing you can be sure is that I remain determined to do everything possible to reestablish the Black Sea initiative, the exports of Ukrainian foodstuffs, and to go on with our work in relation to the facilitation [...] of the Russian food and fertilizer products," he said.

Guterres also said that the UN has shared with Russia the ideas it considers useful for the creation of a system of mutual guarantees facilitating a return to the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

"Those efforts are being done not to violate the sanctions regime," he said, adding that it is precisely an attempt to remove obstacles to the export of Russian agricultural products, not an attempt to lift some sanctions imposed by Western countries.

Heads of state and government will gather at the UN Headquarters in New York for the General Assembly next week.