A move to reconnect Rosselkhozbank could reportedly facilitate an extension of the Black Sea grain deal
The reconnection of the Russian Agricultural Bank (Rosselkhozbank) to the international SWIFT payment system is part of discussions on extending the Black Sea grain deal, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has claimed. The issue is among Moscow’s conditions for the continuation of the agreement to allow Ukrainian grain exports.
“Our efforts continue, we hope for results. The main problem here and the reason why Russia extended the deal for 60 days [in March] is the obstacles to the export of Russian agricultural products. These are serious obstacles,” Cavusoglu said in an interview with the NTV news channel on Wednesday.
According to the official, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is actively working on the issue with parties including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is “making efforts… despite an active election campaign.”
The UN and Türkiye brokered a landmark agreement last July which allows the safe export of Ukrainian grain though the Black Sea. The produce is primarily intended for poorer nations whose food security is threatened.
The agreement also requires Western countries to unblock Russian grain and fertilizer exports.
Moscow has demanded that Rosselkhozbank be allowed to return to the SWIFT system to facilitate purchases of imported agricultural machinery. Russia also wants insurance restrictions on agricultural shipments to be removed, port access for Russian ships and cargo to be reopened, and Russian fertilizer companies to be financially unblocked.
The Kremlin has repeatedly stated that not all parties have fulfilled their side of the agreement. Moscow has also complained that the majority of agricultural goods from Ukraine were being shipped to well-fed countries, rather than to nations at serious risk of food shortages.
Moscow agreed to extend the deal by 60 days in March, but warned it would not do so again if other parties fail to honor all of its terms. UN Secretary-General Guterres said at the time that the organization would “do everything possible to preserve the integrity” of the agreement and make sure it continued to function.
According to Cavusoglu, the various parties are actively collaborating but there are “no guarantees” that the deal will be extended. He nonetheless expressed hope of “positive results.”
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May 03, 2023 at 10:57PM