Russia's Lavrov urges Ukraine to de-mine waters to allow safe passage of ships

Russian foreign minister arrived in Manama on Monday to meet Bahrain's King Hamad

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks at a news conference in Manama, Bahrain, on Tuesday. Reuters
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Moscow on Tuesday called on Ukraine to de-mine its territorial waters to allow the safe passage of ships through the Black and Azov seas.

“If the problem of de-mining is resolved … Russia's naval forces will ensure the unhindered passage of these ships into the Mediterranean and onwards to their destinations,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a press conference during a visit to Bahrain's capital Manama.

Russia and Ukraine produce around 30 per cent of the global wheat supply.

Mr Lavrov said it was up to the West and Kyiv to resolve a growing global food crisis provoked by the conflict in Ukraine.

Russia's offensive in Ukraine and western sanctions have disrupted deliveries of wheat and other commodities from the two countries, fuelling concerns about the lack of supplies and hunger around the world.

Western countries “created a lot of artificial problems by closing their ports to Russian ships, disrupting logistics and financial chains,” Mr Lavrov told reporters.

“They need to seriously consider what is more important for them: to do PR on the issue of food security or to take concrete steps to solve this problem.”

During the press conference with Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani, Mr Lavrov called for direct talks between the Palestinians and Israelis to be renewed to solve the decades-long conflict

He said the failure to settle the conflict has created a hotbed of tension, with concerns raised by recent violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

“We talked about the need to renew direct talks between the Palestinians and Israelis,” he said. “We have the legal basis for that and we have the Arab peace initiative that has been supported by the United Nations.

“It is now essential to increase the efforts using mediators and facilitators from the Arab states so we can create suitable conditions to renew such dialogue and to continue to look for a two-state solution to this issue.”

Mr Lavrov arrived in Manama on Monday and met Bahrain's King Hamad.

During the meeting, the Russian politician discussed the latest regional and international developments, including the situation in Ukraine.

King Hamad said it was important to resolve the conflict in Ukraine in a way that serves the interests of the two neighbouring countries and guarantees the security and stability of Europe, state news agency BNA said.

The king called for dialogue and diplomatic solutions in line with international law to reach a political settlement that will end the war, ensure security, protect civilians and allow humanitarian aid to be delivered to refugees and displaced people.

He expressed Bahrain’s appreciation of the historically friendly relations it has enjoyed with Russia, as well as the kingdom’s keenness to enhance co-operation in a way that serves the interests of both countries.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, and Bahrain's Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani talk as they enter a hall for their meeting in Manama. Photo: AP

Washington has been bargaining for extra clauses in talks on the Iranian nuclear deal, thus creating barriers to reviving it, Mr Lavrov also said.

“Certain obstacles have been mounted here, mostly because of the US that has been bargaining for some additional clauses to be able to modify the initial idea and contents [of the deal] approved by the UN Security Council,” he said.

Russia and Bahrain have agreed to promote the prospects of developing trade and economic co-operation, Mr Lavrov said.

“We discussed in detail the issues of our trade and economic co-operation. The trade turnover is growing, but the absolute figures are very, very modest. They do not suit either our friends or Russian economic operators,” he said.

Updated: May 31, 2022, 1:14 PM