Russia's top diplomat reassures Egyptians about grain

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Russia's top diplomat, Sergey Lavrov, reassured Egyptian leaders on Sunday that their orders for Russian grain would be met.

The conflict in Ukraine has raised the prospect of food shortages in Africa.

During his speech in Cairo, Lavrov denounced western blame put on Russia for the current crisis.

"If anybody wants to be objective they could read statistics from the World Food Program, from the Food and Agriculture Organisation, which describes the difficulties in the food market beginning with coronavirus pandemic when some contacts and supply chains were affected, then the Americans and Europeans start printing money, by trillions of dollars and euros and using this money for food and medicines and other stuff", said Lavrov. 

Lavrov's visit follows a landmark deal Russia and Ukraine signed on Friday with the United Nations and Turkey aimed at relieving a global food crisis caused by blocked Black Sea grain deliveries.

Between 20 and 25 million tonnes of grain have been blocked in Ukrainian ports since Russian troops invaded in February.

"They were trying to pretend that sanctions don't cover grain food and fertiliser, and if you just take a look for the list of sanctions, yes food was exempted but what wasn't exempted was the possibility for the Russian ships to call on the Mediterranean ports, what wasn't exempted was the possibility of foreign ships to call on the Russian ports to take grain and other food", added Russia's top diplomat.

Before Russia invaded Ukraine, the two countries accounted for 85 percent of wheat imports to Egypt. 

During the visit, Lavrov met with leaders of the Arab League before heading to Uganda, Ethiopia and Congo.

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