Secretary-General Guterres says he spoke with EU leaders this week about lifting sanctions on Russian fertilizer exports A container cargo ship is seen in Rotterdam Harbor, April 4, 2021, Rotterdam, Netherlands. © Getty Images / BSR Agency

Major European ports have signaled their readiness to facilitate the export of Russian fertilizers, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in an interview with RIA Novosti, published on Saturday.

“We are… in contact with the ports. We have received positive signals from Rotterdam, from the Finnish port of Kotka. We are also in discussions with Antwerp and Hamburg. So we are very attentive to this problem and very committed to solving it,” the official said in response to a question on the export of Russian fertilizers.

In July, a multilateral agreement was signed in Istanbul freeing up Ukrainian grain exports via the Black Sea and lifting restrictions on Russian grain and fertilizer exports. While Western sanctions do not technically restrict the sale of Russian agricultural produce, the measures still affect shipping, posing problems to payments and insurance of Russian cargo, among other things.

According to Russia, however, the promised lifting of restrictions on Russian exports has not come about yet, with tons of fertilizers currently amassed at EU ports. Guterres said he spoke with EU leaders this week and is certain that the situation will improve soon.

“First of all, we are engaged in trying to convince those who put certain obstacles to remove them. This week I had an intensive series of contacts with the leaders of the EU. And I hope there will be a positive change with regard to the possibility of distributing Russian grain and fertilizers without obstacles through Europe to other markets,” Guterres stated.

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