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FM Bilawal discusses Black Sea Grain Initiative with Russian counterpart

The initiative allows food and fertilizer exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports: Odesa, Chornomorsk, and Yuzhny/Pivdennyi.

Islamabad, 26 July, 2023 (GNP): Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov discussed the Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI) in a telephone conversation on bilateral issues on Wednesday, according to a statement issued by the Foreign Affairs ministry.

The initiative allows food and fertilizer exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports: Odesa, Chornomorsk, and Yuzhny/Pivdennyi.

Recognizing the initiative’s importance and potential impact on the disruption of global food supply chains, leading to food inflation and food-security-related challenges, FM Bilawal stressed the need for collaborative efforts to find viable solutions. He particularly emphasized the benefits it could bring to developing countries already facing economic strain.

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FM Bilawal expressed hope that all parties involved in the initiative would engage in a meaningful discussion to revive it. In this context, the minister reaffirmed Pakistan’s support for global efforts aimed at reviving the deal by addressing the concerns of all parties.

During the conversation, Bilawal informed Lavrov about his discussions on BSGI with counterparts from Ukraine, Turkiye, the US Secretary of State, and the European Union High Representative.

In response, the Russian minister shared his government’s perspective on the matter. Both Foreign Ministers agreed to maintain close communication on the issue.

The exchange also touched upon bilateral matters, highlighting the growing cooperation between the two governments in various areas. Bilawal also extended another invitation to Lavrov to visit Pakistan.

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Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has estimated that Russia’s exit from the deal could lead to a 10-15% increase in global grain prices.

The IMF’s chief economist, Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, stated that the Black Sea grain deal played a crucial role in ensuring ample grain supplies from Ukraine, thereby easing food price pressures.

The IMF’s latest forecast suggested a decline in global headline inflation from 8.7% in 2022 to 6.8% in 2023 and further dropping to 5.2% in 2024. Core inflation is projected to decrease more gradually to 6.0% in 2023 and 4.7% in 2024.

Gourinchas said that it might take until late 2024 or early 2025 for inflation to reach central bankers’ targets and the ongoing cycle of monetary tightening would end.