By Katya Golubkova & Yuka Obayashi
TOKYO, Japan (Reuters) – The Group of Seven economic powers called for "extension, implementation in full and expansion" of a crucial deal to export Ukrainian grains through the Black Sea. This was stated by the agriculture ministers of the G7 group.
The deal, which was negotiated by the United Nations, Turkey and Ukraine, was signed in Istanbul, Turkey last July. It allows Ukraine to export over 27 million tonnes grain from its Black Sea ports.
The Russian government, which invaded their neighbour in February 2022 has made it clear that they will not permit the deal to go beyond May 18, as a number of its demands for facilitating its own grain and fertiliser exports have not been met.
The G7 agriculture ministers acknowledged the "importance" of the agreement in a communique issued after a two day meeting held in Miyazaki (Japan). They said: "We strongly endorse the extension, full implement and expansion of BSGI (Black Sea Grain Initiative).
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The communique stated: "We condemn Russia’s attempts to weaponise food and use it as a tool for geopolitical destabilization and coercion. We reiterate our commitment to act in solidarity and support those who are most affected by Russia’s weaponisation of foods."
The document stated that G7 members were "ready" to assist in the recovery and reconstruction efforts of Ukraine. This includes providing expertise on demining agricultural land and rebuilding agricultural infrastructure.
This week, the U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet in New York to discuss a grain deal between Ukraine and the Black Sea.