UPDATE 1-UN plans further Russian fertiliser exports to Africa, upbeat on ammonia pipeline
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GENEVA, Nov 18 (Reuters) - A U.N. official on Friday said she hoped that a shipment of Russian fertiliser exports to Malawi would lead to a further easing of a 300,000 tonne backlog in European ports, as the global body works to address Russian concerns that have threatened a Black Sea grains export deal.
A deal aimed at addressing global food shortages by helping Ukraine export its agricultural products from Black Sea ports was extended for four months on Thursday, though Russia said its demands were yet to be addressed.
"We are really very pleased on the extension of the Black Sea grains initiative....," Rebeca Grynspan, secretary-general of the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) told a Geneva press briefing. "But we have said very clearly that we are still not where we want to be, there is still work to be done and especially on fertilisers."
Moscow won guarantees for its own grain and fertiliser exports as part of the July agreement brokered by the United Nations and Turkey. But it has complained that its shipments, though not directly targeted, are constrained by sanctions.
Grynspan, who is in charge of the fertiliser negotiations, said that she hoped a shipment set to sail from the Netherlands on Nov. 21 to Malawi via Mozambique would serve as a model for future exports and that work was going on for another humanitarian cargo to be sent to West Africa.
In the same briefing, she voiced optimism that Russia and Ukraine could agree to the terms for resuming exports of Russian ammonia via a pipeline to the Black Sea. The export of ammonia, a key ingredient in fertiliser, was not part of Thursday's renewal.
Grynspan also said that the U.N. would be aiming for a longer renewal period of the Black Sea Grains deal, beyond the 120 days agreed on Thursday. (Reporting by Emma Farge and Paul Carrel, Editing by William Maclean)
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