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Russia starts grain deliveries to Africa

September 1, 2023 at 1:56 pm

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in Moscow, Russia. [Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Anadolu Agency]

Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, said on Friday that “the practical work” on supply of Russian grain to six African countries has already begun, Anadolu Agency reports.

Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Eritrea, Mali, Somalia and Zimbabwe will each get 50,000 tons of grain free of charge in the coming months, he said at an event in Moscow.

Russia will also pay the related expenses, he added.

Touching upon Ukraine, he said Saudi Arabia informed Moscow that the meeting that took place on 5-6 August in Jeddah was organised “to convey to the Western participants and to Ukraine itself the idea” that the peace settlement between Moscow and Kyiv could not move forward without Russia’s participation.

He said the West will continue to support Ukraine for only as long as it was in Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries.

On Russia looking to do trade in currencies other than the US dollar, he said Washington has undermined the position of the currency by weaponising it.

READ: Turkiye spoken with Russia about grain to African countries free of charge: President

At the moment, there is not enough experience to switch to any other currency but, gradually, standard procedures will evolve because a lot of countries are forced to seek an alternative, he added.

Specifically, he mentioned the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), saying 90 per cent of the association’s trade turnover in 2023 will be in national currencies.

Lavrov also said that Iran, Russia, Turkiye and Syria continue contacts on the draft implementation of the roadmap for normalisation of relations between Damascus and Ankara, which started in 2022.

“We have adopted a statement expressing our interest in working out a roadmap for normalisation between Syria and Turkiye. We handed over the draft roadmap to all our colleagues sometime in June. Contacts are continuing now to bring it to a generally acceptable state, when it could have already been approved,” he said.

Lavrov said Russia suggested Ankara and Damascus to return to the 1998 Adana agreement to handle difference over counter-terror measures.

“The US illegal support of Kurdish separatism” is another problem for the Turkish-Syrian normalisation, he added.

READ: Putin says Russia will provide free grain to 6 African countries in next 3-4 months