Talks underway to resolve grain deal ships inspections issue: Source
A source is cited as saying that negotiations between relevant parties are not easy but ongoing.
Talks are ongoing to resolve an issue that has been hindering the inspection of ships operating under the Black Sea grain initiative, Sputnik said on Wednesday, citing sources informed on the negotiations.
The UN said earlier that the number of vessel inspections dropped to an average of 2.9 per day in May, compared to 4 in April.
Russia said last month that difficulties in performing ship inspections under the grain deal are purely due to the acts of Ukrainian and UN personnel.
"The joint coordination center in Istanbul is indeed experiencing difficulties with the registration of new vessels and the conduct of inspections. They arise solely as a result of the actions of Ukrainian representatives, as well as the UN that, apparently, does not want or cannot resist them," Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova said earlier.
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No inspections were conducted on Sunday and Monday.
"Yes, there are such problems... But we are holding talks with the parties. Of course, they are not always easy, but they are ongoing," the source told the news agency.
On its part, Russia is being very cooperative on the grain deal talks, the source continued.
The Russian delegation is sowing a "quite constructive" position in the negotiations, he added.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin revealed earlier that a high-level meeting on the grain agreement will be held in Turkey's Istanbul in a four-party format on May 10 and 11.
Russia, Ukraine, and Turkey signed an UN-brokered agreement on July 22 to establish a humanitarian maritime corridor for ships transporting food and fertilizers from Ukrainian Black Sea ports, which was called the Black Sea Grain Initiative and is generally known as the Grain Deal.
The deal was extended on March 18 for a period of 60 days instead of the 120-day period originally specified in the agreement.
The grain export deal has helped ease the global food crisis triggered by the war in Ukraine and the Western sanctions against Russia.
According to the United Nations, more than 24.1 million tonnes of grain have been exported under the agreement until March. But Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) revealed in October 2022 that only a quarter of the grain exported under the BSGI is going to low-income countries.
Agriculture ministers of the G7 member states considered on April 23 that the deal is vital to the "EU-Ukraine Solidarity Lanes" and announced their support for extending and expanding the deal.
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