UN chief pitches proposal for Moscow to renew Black Sea grain deal

Antonio Guterres says plan takes Russian concerns into consideration

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said any new deal must be 'stable' and not subject to suspensions and pull-outs. Bloomberg
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UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres wrote this week to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with a set of “concrete proposals” to revive the lapsed Black Sea grain deal.

The initiative, brokered by the UN and Turkey, ensured the safe passage of grain from Ukraine via the Black Sea. But Moscow withdrew from the agreement last month, citing the world body's non-compliance with provisions aimed at easing Russia's exports of agricultural products and fertiliser.

Mr Guterres told reporters the new proposal takes Russia's concerns into consideration.

“We've presented a set of concrete proposals … I believe we presented a proposal that could be the basis for a renewal,” he said.

He added any new deal must be “stable” and not subject to suspensions and pull-outs.

“We need to have something that works and that works to the benefit of everybody,” Mr Guterres said.

The letter comes as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to visit Russia as soon as next week to discuss the lapsed deal with President Vladimir Putin.

Mr Erdogan will visit the Russian city of Sochi for talks about the looming global “food crisis” soon, a spokesman for Mr Erdogan's ruling party said on Monday.

Since Russia withdrew from the deal, Ukraine's ports have come under attack, with Moscow warning it considers any ships in the vital waterway as potential military targets.

Kyiv has also attacked Russian targets around the Black Sea.

Russia on Wednesday said it would set out its own alternative to the Black Sea grain deal.

Updated: August 31, 2023, 7:29 PM