Russian Fertilizer

Geneva: A shipment next week of Russian fertilizer exports to Malawi could set an example and help ease a 300,000-tonne backlog at European ports, a UN official said on Friday as the body addresses Russian concerns which threaten the Black Sea grain export deal.

An agreement intended to ease worldwide food shortages by assisting Ukraine to export its agricultural items from Black Sea ports was extended for four months on Thursday, though Moscow said its demands had yet to be addressed.

Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary-General of the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) who leads the negotiations on fertilizer, told a Geneva press detailing the deal’s extension was progress, but there was work to be finished to show nations how to navigate the guidelines. “We have said very clearly that we are still not where we want to be. There is still work to be done and especially on fertilizers,” she said.

While the U.S. and England sanctions were clear, Grynspan said different interpretations of European Union rules by the bloc’s 27 countries made its system more complex. She said she hoped the shipment set to sail from the Netherlands on Nov. 21 to Malawi through Mozambique would serve as a model for future exports. Work was likewise proceeding on to send another humanitarian cargo to West Africa, helped by the French government, the World Food Programme, and the World Bank, she added.

Moscow won guarantees for its grain and fertilizer exports as part of the July agreement facilitated by the United Nations and Turkey. But it has complained that its shipments, however not directly targeted, are obliged by sanctions.

In Friday’s briefing, Grynspan said she was hopeful Russia and Ukraine could agree to the terms for the export of Russian ammonia through the pipeline to the Black Sea, without giving details. The export of ammonia, used in fertilizer, was not part of Thursday’s renewal. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in September he would only back the resumption of ammonia exports via Ukraine if Moscow gave back prisoners of war, an idea the Kremlin rejected.

Grynspan also said the U.N. would intend to renew the Black Sea Grains deal for longer than the 120 days agreed on Thursday.

By Archana

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