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UN comments on Ukraine grain export deal — Analysis

All parties to the deal have reaffirmed their commitments, with the grain expected to start flowing ‘within a few days’

Farhan Haq said that UN officials expect cargo ships carrying grain from Ukraine within days. He was speaking on behalf of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. According to Farhan Haq, all three parties in the UN-backed deal (Russia, Turkey, Ukraine) have reiterated their commitments to that agreement to allow grain exports to be unblocked.

“We can tell you that since the signing of the agreement, parties to the Initiative, and the UN, have been in frequent contact, including yesterday. All parties have reconfirmed their commitment to the Initiative,”Haq stated. “By tomorrow, all parties and the UN will have a presence in the Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul.”

Expect the first vessels carrying Ukrainian grain to start moving in April “within a few days,”The spokesman stated that the event was happening, but did not give a time frame. “The Joint Coordination Center will be liaising with the shipping industry and publishing detailed procedures for ships in the very near future,” Haq added.

Last week, representatives from Russia, Ukraine, UN and Turkey signed the landmark deal to permit exports for Ukrainian fertilizers, grains and other food products.

Kiev charged Russia with attacking grain silos in Odessa, a major trading port, one day after the agreement had been signed. Moscow denied that they had targeted port infrastructure and reiterated its position that only military targets are it hit. Russia claimed it struck a Ukrainian naval vessel moored in Odessa and an anti-ship missile storage facility containing Harpoon antiship missiles.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated earlier Monday that no grain deal had been tied to any ongoing military operation against Ukraine. “Under the grain deal, Russia did not assume any obligations that would prevent the continuation of the special military operation and the destruction of military infrastructure,” Lavrov said.

Top diplomat said that “grain terminal in Odessa is located at a considerable distance from military facilities”Moscow, however, has not established any barriers to the export of grains through its actions.

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