Russia spoke in favour of grain deal extension at G20 summit - minister

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrive for the G20 Leaders' Summit in Bali, Indonesia, 15 November 2022. Mast Irham/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
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MOSCOW, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Russia spoke in favour of extending the Black Sea grain deal at this week's G20 summit in Bali, as long as more grain was sent to countries in the greatest need, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told Russia's state-run RT news channel.

The deal allowing Ukraine to export grain via the Black Sea without hindrance from Russia's military campaign in Ukraine is due to roll over on Nov. 19 unless there are objections.

Moscow has said its agreement depends on provisions to ensure it can export its own grain and fertiliser despite the obstacles created by Western sanctions.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at the summit "that we are in favour of continuing the grain deal, but we are in favour of ensuring that the grain supplied under the Black Sea arrangements goes specifically to countries that need the grain, rather than to Western countries and countries with European economies, as is currently the case," Siluanov told RT.

"We therefore spoke in favour of continuing this deal under the control of the grain supply destinations, so that this grain goes to the countries that are really in need," Siluanov said in the interview, broadcast on Wednesday.

Ukraine has already set out a plan to export more grain to poor countries. Kyiv wants to feed at least 5 million more people facing acute food shortages by the end of next spring, according to proposals set out by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Tuesday.

The Kremlin said on Wednesday that Russia had seen "certain progress" towards addressing its concerns over the deal.

"You know that we are mainly talking about the part of the agreement that was designed to ensure the removal of restrictions on the supply of Russian products to foreign markets," spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

"Experts are working intensively. Contacts with the U.N. have been quite constructive. Let's wait for the remaining days to see the outcome."

Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya; writing by Polina Devitt; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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