News ID: 112952
Publish Date : 01 March 2023 - 21:31

Russia, U.S. Bicker at UN Over Donating Fertilizer to Syria

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Russia and the United States bickered over whether Russian fertilizer could be donated to Syria as Moscow heightens complaints about obstacles to its fertilizer shipments before the renewal of a deal allowing Ukraine Black Sea grain exports.
Some 260,000 tonnes of Russian fertilizer has been stuck in several European ports, most of it in Latvia. Russian fertilizer producer, Uralchem-Uralkali, has been working with the United Nations to donate the fertilizer to countries in need.
In November, a shipment of the fertilizer – relied on by many countries to boost farm yields – was delivered to Malawi and a second shipment is due to be delivered to Kenya in March.
“Food and fertilizers are not under sanctions,” UN spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said. “That being said, it’s not a secret that there are a number of challenges – regulatory and others – that have to be overcome.”
During a UN Security Council meeting on Syria, Russia’s Deputy UN Ambassador, Dmitry Polyanskiy, said a donation of the fertilizer held at European ports could not be made to Syria because of U.S. sanctions imposed under the Caesar Act, which came into force in June 2020.
The fertilizers are considered a dual-use product, minimizing the chances of them being sent, Polyanskiy said.
“We once again call upon the UN Secretariat to address the problems of the negative consequences of sanctions against Syria and, in particular, to ensure that this shipment of our fertilizers is dispatched to the country,” he said.
U.S. Deputy UN Ambassador, Robert Wood, said the United States “is not the cause of any reported delays in Russia’s ability to deliver fertilizer to Syria, as claimed by Russia.”
“If Russia wants to donate fertilizer, it can do so. Russia should work directly with the UN to distribute agricultural donations inside Syria to its local partners,” Wood told the Council.
Facilitating Russian fertilizer exports is a major part of a package deal brokered by the United Nations last July that saw the resumption of grain exports from certain Ukrainian Black Sea ports amid the war in Ukraine.
It was extended in November for four months and is due to again be renewed in March.
Dujarric said that senior UN trade official, Rebeca Grynspan, has been working hard on getting more Russian fertilizer out to the world market.
“There’s nothing we would like to see more than to see much needed fertilizer reach farmers in the developing countries, notably in Africa, where it’s desperately needed,” Dujarric told reporters.