Taking part in the meeting were Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino, Secretary of the Security Council Nikolai Patrushev, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Director of the Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov, and Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service Sergei Naryshkin.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.
Today, we have to discuss a highly important issue, namely, providing housing to service personnel of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and other troops, military units and agencies. Many speakers are ready to focus on this matter. We have gathered here for the sake of discussing this issue, and we will now proceed as planned.
Before we start the discussion, I would like to thank everyone involved in preparing for the Eastern Economic Forum, which has proved highly successful and has produced good results. The forum has become a traditional event. The participants raised many important issues, signed many contracts and held many useful talks. So, thank you very much.
One of the burning issues discussed there was supplying food and Russian fertilisers to world markets. In this regard, I would like to address the Foreign Ministry and primarily to ask Mr Lavrov the following.
First, you should know that I mentioned grain supplies, including Ukrainian exports. As we remember, this effort was mediated by the Republic of Turkey, as well as the United Nations. Our European partners have long been telling us about the need to resume supplies, including from Ukraine, and above all in the interests of the poorest countries.
I also mentioned this at the forum.
Now we hear that some of our partners are questioning what was said about those grain supplies from Ukraine. But we have every move recorded, there can be no mistake there. Of the 87 ships that left Ukrainian ports carrying grain, 32 remained in Turkey, and I believe that was a fair part of the deal because Turkey was the country that arranged this entire process and therefore is certainly entitled to this. Three went to South Africa, three to Israel, seven to Egypt, 30 to the European Union, and only two ships headed for the poorest countries under UN food programmes – for Yemen and Djibouti. They carried 60,000 tonnes of grain, or a mere 3 percent.
I would like to ask the Foreign Ministry to take this into account when interacting with our partners, including the UN. True, we cannot influence this process, cannot direct how much food goes where, but nevertheless, we consider it right to increase supplies to the poorest countries. I would like to ask our Foreign Ministry to proceed from this position. We control everything that happens there, but we certainly cannot influence where this grain goes.
In May-August of this year, the Russian Federation supplied 6.6 million tonnes of grain to world markets, including wheat, barley and corn, of which as much as 6.3 million tonnes went to Asia, Africa and Latin America. Overall, by the end of the year, we will supply 30 million tonnes of grain and are ready to increase our exports to 50 million tonnes or more, because thank God, this year's harvest is good.
Second, fertilisers. This year, Russia exported 7 million tonnes of potash, nitrogen and compound, or mixed fertilisers in four months, of which about 3 million tonnes, or almost half, also went to Asia, Africa and Latin America. We can supply about 2 million tonnes of ammonia, which can be used to make large amounts of fertiliser, which in turn can be used to produce massive wheat crops.
There are technical issues here that are being looked into by the UN, among others. I asked Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov to look into this matter. He maintains communication with our UN colleagues. I would like the Foreign Ministry to step up and help conduct these talks. There are some technical issues, but we can get these deliveries on track.
We are aware that the European Commission has lifted the sanctions on the supplies of Russian fertilisers, and we certainly welcome this decision. However, the European Commission issued a clarification on this matter on August 10, whereby only EU countries can buy our fertilisers, but we and Belarus cannot ship our fertilisers through the ports of European countries to the developing economies of Asia, Africa or Latin America, which is an act of discrimination against our partners from these parts of the world.
I want the Foreign Ministry to work with our partners and the UN, which joined the efforts to address these issues. I believe discrimination against Asian, African or Latin American countries is unacceptable. By all means, we will review our European partners’ proposals regarding fertiliser supplies to them, but we need to get our fertiliser supplies to other countries on track too. By the way, I want the Foreign Ministry to act in support of the Belarusian fertiliser supplies as well.
Massive amounts of our fertilisers (100,000 tonnes, I believe) are stored at the ports of some European countries. Our manufacturers – primarily of potash fertilizer – are willing to give them for free to the developing countries in dire need of these fertilisers. I want the Foreign Ministry to work through this issue as well.
Let us get to the main issue.