“Western countries, which have created a lot of problems by closing their ports to Russian ships, cutting logistical and financial chains, need to think carefully about the most important thing,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in a statement. Moscow.
For the Russian ruler, the West can “make public the issue of food security” or “solve this problem with concrete measures.”
“The ball is on their side,” Lavrov stressed during a visit to Bahrain.
Sergei Lavrov also urged Ukraine, which has been facing a Russian invasion for three months now, to clear its territorial waters around its ports to allow grain ships to pass through the Black Sea.
“If the problem with mine clearance is resolved (…), the Russian naval forces will ensure the unimpeded passage of these ships to the Mediterranean Sea and on to their destination,” Lavrov assured.
The conflict in Ukraine has upset the global food balance and raises fears of a crisis that will particularly affect the poorest countries.
Ukraine, a major exporter of grains, especially corn and wheat, has blocked production due to the fighting.
In turn, Russia, another power in this sector, cannot sell its products and its fertilizers due to Western sanctions affecting the financial and logistics sectors. The two countries produce a third of the world’s wheat.
On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin assured that he was ready to work with Turkey to ensure the movement of goods in the Black Sea, including grain from Ukraine.
On the other hand, the UN today called “constructive” talks held on Monday with the Russian government aimed at facilitating the export of food and fertilizers from the country.
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Secretary-General Rebeca Greenspan met in Moscow on Monday with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Andrey Belousov and traveled to Washington on Tuesday to meet with US officials, the organization said. Today.
“The goal of the talks, as we said, is focused on facilitating the promotion of Russian grains and fertilizers to world markets in response to growing food shortages,” said spokesman Stéphane Dujarric.
A UNCTAD representative has taken the lead on this issue on behalf of UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who has been trying for weeks to push for a broader agreement that would also include Ukrainian food staples for some of the world’s poorest countries where hunger is getting worse.
According to various estimates, Ukraine has about 22 million tons of grain in its elevators, which it cannot take out of the country as a result of the conflict, since Russia blocks the Black Sea, and Ukrainian ports are mined to prevent the landing of Russian troops. .
The Russian foreign minister traveled to Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, today to meet with his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan and the head of the Saudi-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation, his spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.
Lavrov is due to meet with the foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on Wednesday.
The Riyadh-based organization includes key members of the OPEC+ oil alliance, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and an alliance the group signed in 2021 with ten foreign producers, including Russia.
Despite pressure from Washington to increase oil production to calm energy prices, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have shown their commitment to OPEC+ by distancing themselves from their traditional partner, the United States.