Russia has insisted that the issues of Ukrainian grain exports and Russian agricultural exports be resolved in a package, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Sunday following talks with Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry.
“In the end, we insisted on having both issues resolved exactly in a package. The Ukrainian grain issues will be resolved through the establishment of a coordination center in Istanbul, guarantees will be given that the Ukrainians will clear of mines their territorial waters and allow ships to leave, and during their passage in the open sea, Russia and Turkey will be ensuring their safety with their naval forces,” Lavrov said.
He also said that Russia has no prejudice as to the resumption of talks with Kiev on issues other than food settlement, but Kiev insists on its military victory over Russia.
“We do not have any prejudices against resuming negotiations on a wider range of issues [with Ukraine], but it is not up to us, since the Ukrainian authorities, starting with the president and ending with his numerous advisers, say that there will be no negotiations until Ukraine defeats Russia on the battlefield,” Lavrov explained.
Russia has reiterated that its grain exporters are committed to their contract liabilities, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Sunday after talks with his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry.
“We reiterated the commitment of Russian grain exporters to all of their liabilities,” he said.
Some Western countries were seeking to postpone the issue of exporting Russian grain, Russian Foreign Minister said.
“Several days ago, a corresponding document was signed in Istanbul. Notably, when the work was nearing completion, some of our Western colleagues began to try to resolve only the problem of Ukrainian grain and postpone the issues linked with Russian grain supplies to world markets, which are much bigger than Ukraine’s,” he said. “We even felt that the UN delegation, which was working in Istanbul, was about to embark on this path, i.e. to postpone issues linked with Russian grain to a later date. It was a blatant violation of the idea voiced by the secretary general himself. And, in th long run, we insisted on tackling both issues as a package.”.
Problem of sanctions
Russia hopes that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will succeed in resolving the problem of sanctions, which hinder grain operations from Russia, Lavrov said.
“Those illegitimate sanctions that were imposed [against Russia] and that prevented operations with Russian grain, including insurance, including the calling of our ships at foreign ports and foreign ships at Russian ports,” Lavrov said. Now, after the signing of the agreements in Istanbul, the UN secretary-general “has volunteered to seek the removal of these illegitimate restrictions. Let’s hope he will succeed,” the top diplomat said.
Interests of all parties
Egypt understands what is happening in Ukraine, including the motives of the West, and it stands for an early settlement in Ukraine that would take into account the legitimate interests of all parties, Lavrov said.
“Our Egyptian colleagues understand what is happening (in Ukraine – TASS), they understand the context, which is connected with geopolitics, which is connected with the West’s policy to ensure its dominance in international affairs, and they stand, which we appreciate, for the soonest search for a peaceful settlement taking into account the fundamental, legitimate interests of all participants in this process within the context of building a sustainable European security architecture on a fair basis,” Lavrov said.
The Russian foreign minister on Sunday began his African tour with a visit to Egypt. Russia and Egypt are maintaining traditionally close contacts. Lavrov’s previous visit to Cairo took place in April 2021 and the Egyptian top diplomat visited Moscow in April 2022 as the leader of a ministerial contact group pf the Arab League on Ukraine.