MOSCOW, February 13. /TASS/. The West continues to unlawfully hold over 96,000 metric tons of Russian fertilizers at ports in Latvia, Estonia and Belgium, Russian Foreign Ministry Africa Department Head Vsevolod Tkachenko told TASS in an interview.
"More than 96,000 metric tons of Russian fertilizers continue to be unlawfully held at Latvian, Estonian and Belgian ports. Their release and transfer is being carried out within the framework of efforts to implement the Russia-UN memorandum on the normalization of domestic agricultural exports and still remain the only significant results from implementing the agreement in the 18 months since it was signed," the diplomat said.
Russia is steadily paying greater attention to efforts toward bolstering global food security, including meeting the growing demand among African countries for agricultural products and fertilizers, Tkachenko noted. "Further to honoring our commercial commitments in good faith, we are also focusing on humanitarian deliveries of domestic [agricultural] products to needy African nations," he said.
For the time being, the free-of-charge transfer of large consignments of Russian fertilizers among those blocked in European ports have taken place in collaboration with the UN World Food Programme, the diplomat stressed. Fertilizers have been transferred to Malawi (20,000 metric tons), Kenya (34,000 metric tons), Zimbabwe (23,000 metric tons) and Nigeria (34,000 metric tons).
"At the same time, following the principled line of providing food aid to the neediest countries, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the delivery of Russian food during the second Russia-Africa summit to six African nations as free food aid. The humanitarian cargo was delivered in January to Burkina Faso, Mali, Somalia, Eritrea and the Central African Republic. Grain unloaded in the port of Beira, Mozambique, is currently being transported to Zimbabwe," Tkachenko added.