African leaders involved in the peace negotiations on Ukraine have called for the unblocking of Russian grain and fertilizer exports to revive the agreement on grain exports via the Black Sea, South Africa said Thursday, August 04, 2023.
The group also called on the United Nations to take steps to release 200,000 tons of Russian fertilizer stranded in EU ports, said Vincent Magwenya, spokesman for South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“The leaders called for specific measures to remove barriers to Russian grain and fertilizer exports, thus allowing the resumption of full implementation” of the Black Sea agreement, Mr. Magwenya said at a press briefing in Pretoria.
Last month, Russia withdrew from a UN-brokered agreement that allowed Ukraine to export grain via the Black Sea, resulting in soaring grain prices that hit the poorest countries hard.
Moscow requires guarantees on another agreement concerning its own exports, especially of fertilizer.
The call to meet some of the Kremlin’s demands was launched by Ramaphosa and six other heads of state, including Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (Egypt) and Macky Sall (Senegal), after talks with Putin in St. Petersburg last week, Magwenya said.
In recent days, Russia has pounded ports in the Odessa region, which were crucial for grain exports benefiting from safe passage under the agreement.
Egypt, South Africa and Senegal are part of a diplomatic effort by seven African countries to try to negotiate an end to hostilities between Kiev and Moscow