Cairo [Egypt], July 25 (ANI): Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has given reassurances regarding global grain stocks after fears emerged that the supply chain could be thrown into chaos following missile strikes on a key Ukrainian city.
Ukrainian and Russian representatives last week signed a deal brokered by Turkey and the UN in Istanbul. The series of documents lifted restrictions on supplies of Russian products for export and provided for Moscow's assistance in exporting Ukrainian grain.
A day after the deal was signed, the Russian Defense Ministry said that Russian naval forces have destroyed a docked Ukrainian warship and a warehouse of US-supplied Harpoon missiles with high-precision long-range missiles in the port of Odessa.
Addressing a press conference during his Egypt visit, Lavrov reaffirmed the commitment of Russian grain exporters to meet all their commitments.
"We discussed specific parameters of cooperation in this area, agreed on further contacts between the relevant ministries, and we have a common understanding of the causes of the grain crisis," Sky News quoted Lavrov as saying after meeting his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry.
The Russian Foreign Minister made these remarks during his first African tour since the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict that started in late February. The tour is scheduled to include Ethiopia, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The Russian top diplomat said he had "a constructive dialogue" with the Egyptian president and later with his Egyptian counterpart, expressing Russia's appreciation for the fast-growing relations between the two countries.
Speaking at a joint press conference after meeting with Shoukry, Lavrov lauded the expanding economic cooperation and growing trade volume between Russia and Egypt.
He added that Russia and Egypt have shared views on many regional and global issues, including the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the crises in Syria, Libya and Iraq.
As for a global food shortage resulting from the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, Lavrov blamed the Western sanctions for obstructing Russian grain exports, noting that Russia and Ukraine recently signed an agreement to help relieve the food crisis through safe corridors in the Black Sea for grain exports.
Lavrov noted that his tour in Africa also seeks to discuss preparations for the second Russia-Africa summit that is scheduled for mid-2023. For his part, the Egyptian foreign minister reiterated the need to reach "a political and diplomatic settlement" of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis.
Shoukry added that he discussed with Lavrov the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and they both agreed on the necessity of the two-state solution as a settlement to the issue.
Ahmed Kandil, head of the International Studies Unit at Cairo-based Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, said that the timing of Lavrov's tour in Africa is very important as it comes after two recent important meetings, one in Jeddah attended by leaders of the United States and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states, plus Egypt, Jordan and Iraq, and the other in Tehran gathering leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkiye.
"Lavrov's scheduled visit to Ethiopia after Egypt could be a message from Moscow that Russia can play an important role in solving the region's issues, the foremost of which is the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) crisis," the Egyptian expert told Xinhua, referring to the dispute between Cairo and Addis Ababa on the rules of filling and operating the dam built on their shared Nile river. (ANI)