African leaders involved in peace talks over Ukraine have called for the unblocking of Russian grain and fertilizer exports to revive the deal on grain exports through the Black Sea, South Africa said on Thursday.
The group has also called on the United Nations to take action to release 200,000 tonnes of Russian fertilizer stuck in European Union ports, said Vincent Magwenya, spokesman for South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“Leaders called for specific measures to remove barriers to Russian grain and fertilizer exports, allowing for the resumption of full implementation” of the Black Sea deal, Magwenya said during the meeting. a press briefing in Pretoria.
Last month, Russia withdrew from a UN-brokered deal that allowed Ukraine to export grain through the Black Sea, leading to a spike in grain prices that hit hard affected the poorest countries.
Moscow is demanding guarantees on another agreement concerning its own exports, in particular of fertilizers.
The call to meet some of the Kremlin’s demands was made by Mr. Ramaphosa and six other heads of state, including Abdel Fattah al-Sissi (Egypt) and Macky Sall (Senegal), following talks with Mr. Putin in St. Petersburg last week, Magwenya said.
In recent days, Russia has shelled ports in the Odessa region, which were crucial for grain exports enjoying safe passage under the deal.
Egypt, South Africa and Senegal are part of a diplomatic effort by seven African countries to try to broker an end to hostilities between Kiev and Moscow.