Brazil’s voice ‘critical’ in convincing Russia to return to grain deal, says Blinken

9 August, 04:30 PM
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (Photo:Lehtikuva/via Reuters)

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (Photo:Lehtikuva/via Reuters)

Brazil’s voice is critical in convincing Russia to return to the Black Sea Grain Initiative with Ukraine, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Aug. 7.

“I think Brazil’s voice, President Lula’s voice, is critical,” he said in an interview with Brazil’s TV channel GloboNews.

“Using that voice to convince the Russians to return to the agreement would be a very, very positive thing. And keep in mind: this agreement never should have been necessary in the first place. It was only necessary because Russia decided to invade Ukraine, and then, having done so, it blockaded its ports, preventing grain and wheat from getting out.”

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Under the grain deal agreement, 35 million tons of food left Ukraine, Blinken stressed. Half went to the developing world, with two-thirds of the wheat going to low- and middle-income countries, mostly in Africa.

Since then, prices for wheat and grain have spiked — by as much as 10% to 15%, Blinken said.

“The world is saying loudly; we want Russia to come back to this agreement,” he said.

“And of course, Brazil’s an important influence and voice in moving Russia back in that direction. It would be a very good thing.”

Earlier, Blinken described Russia’s proposal for free grain supply to African countries as “laughable” since the aggressor country’s proposal included the delivery of only 50,000 tons of grain to “half a dozen countries.”

Russia’s withdrawal from the grain initiative

Russia officially announced the termination of the grain deal on the pretext of repeated attacks on the illegally built Crimea Bridge.

Russia had been sabotaging the agreement since April by refusing to inspect ships, as was the agreement, in order to create a backlog of unloaded ships.

Russia said it was unhappy with the conditions of the deal and demanded that its state agricultural bank be allowed to use the SWIFT interbank transfer system again. The United Nations proposed that a U.S. bank or a specially created subsidiary bank be set up to allow payments on agricultural exports by Russia to be made, but the Kremlin refused to accept this compromise.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy then offered to extend the grain deal with the UN and Turkey, but without Russian participation.

The grain green corridor was mediated by the United Nations and Türkiye and had allowed Ukraine to export grain from three of its Black Sea ports, starting from Aug. 1, 2022.

Türkiye is ready to offer Russia to process its grain passing through the grain corridor into flour and send it to poor African and low-income countries, President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Aug. 4.

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