G7 condemns Russia’s ‘use of food as tool of coercion’, demands full implementstion of Black Sea grain deal

FILE PHOTO: Cargo ship Despina V, carrying Ukrainian grain, is seen in the Black Sea off Kilyos near Istanbul, Turkey. Reuters

Tokyo: Members of the Group of Seven Nations have demanded the full implementation and expansion of the crucial Black Sea grain deal which is used to export Ukrainian products.

The deal, which allows Ukraine to export more than 27 million tonnes of grain from several of its Black Sea ports, was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey last year in July.

Russia has strongly signalled that it will halt the exports beyond May 18 because a list of demands to facilitate its own grain and fertilizer exports has not been met.

The group’s agriculture ministers said that they “recognised the importance”. In a meeting in Japan’s Miyazaki, they said, “We strongly support the extension, full implementation and expansion of (the Black Sea Grain Initiative) BSGI.”

“We condemn Russia’s attempts to use food as a means of destabilisation and as a tool of geopolitical coercion and reiterate our commitment to acting in solidarity and supporting those most affected by Russia’s weaponisation of food,” the communique said.

The group added that they will “stand ready” to support recovery and reconstruction of Ukraine, including by providing expertise in the de-mining of agricultural land and reconstruction of agricultural infrastructure, the document said.

With inputs from agencies

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