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Reuters

CAIRO — Russia’s Overseas Minister Sergei Lavrov provided reassurances over Russian grain provides to Egypt throughout a go to to Cairo on Sunday, amid uncertainty over a deal to renew Ukrainian exports from the Black Sea.

Egypt is likely one of the world’s prime wheat importers and final 12 months purchased about 80% of these imports from Russia and Ukraine. Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine disrupted shipments and sped up an increase in international commodity costs, delivering a monetary shock to Egypt.

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In its response to the struggle, Egypt has been torn between long-standing ties to Russia and its shut relationship to Western powers which have sanctioned and sought to isolate Moscow.

Western embassies had lobbied Egypt and the Arab League forward of Lavrov’s go to, which included talks with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and representatives of the Arab League.

“We reaffirmed the dedication of Russian grain exporters to satisfy all their commitments,” Lavrov mentioned in a press convention with Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry.

“We mentioned particular parameters of cooperation on this space, agreed on additional contacts between the related ministries, and now we have a standard understanding of the causes of the grain disaster.”

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For the reason that begin of the struggle, a blockade of Ukrainian ports by Russia’s Black Sea fleet has trapped tens of thousands and thousands of tonnes of grain, worsening international provide chain bottlenecks.

Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations signed a deal on Friday to restart Ukrainian wheat exports by sea, however a Russian strike on Odesa on Saturday put implementation of the settlement doubtful.

Russia has laid blame for the halt in Black Sea commerce on Western sanctions and Ukrainian mines, although below Friday’s deal pilots would information ships alongside secure channels. Lavrov mentioned he hoped the United Nations would reach eradicating “illegitimate restrictions” on transport.

“There are nonetheless 70 international vessels from 16 or 17 international locations standing there as virtually hostages, together with, by the way, one vessel blocked in Ukrainian ports due to the specter of mines, which is meant to convey meals to Egypt,” he mentioned.

He later advised the Arab League that any ships coming to choose up grain from Ukrainian ports can be inspected to verify they weren’t carrying weapons.

Russia has continued to produce Egypt with wheat because the struggle’s outbreak, promoting to each the federal government and the non-public sector.

Lavrov is visiting Egypt at the beginning of a regional tour of African states. (Writing by Aidan Lewis; Enhancing by Andrew Cawthorne and Daniel Wallis)

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