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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

No EU Food Aid Expected Before 1999

Russia will not receive any food aid from the European Union until next year as talks on possible European commodity loans for Russia are only in an initial stage, officials said Tuesday.

Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov said Tuesday he was "ready to discuss" EU food aid and willing to make the aid distributions process as transparent as possible for European donors. But though the EU has put together an aid proposal, Russia has not accepted it yet, and has not made a formal request for aid.

Yevgeny Sosnin, spokesman for Gennady Kulik, deputy prime minister in charge of agriculture, described the negotiations Tuesday as "preliminary talk."

Bertrand Soret, spokesman for the EU in Moscow, said no deal was possible until Russia officially requested aid, and ruled out any deliveries before January or February of next year.

If Russia does ask for aid, the EU has said it is ready to supply around 1 million tons of EU wheat, 500,000 tons of rye and 50,000 tons of rice - all to be taken out of EU intervention stocks - as well as 100,000 tons of pork, between 100,000 tons and 150,000 tons of beef and some milk powder, Reuters reported.

Sosnin said the aid would come in the form of a commodity loan such as the one on which Russia agreed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture last Friday.

The United States is to extend a $600 million loan to Russia to purchase U.S. wheat and other products. A further 1.5 million tons of wheat and 100,000 tons of other food will be sent as humanitarian aid.

The European package would include only between $12 million and $14 million of humanitarian aid.

Analysts have been divided on whether Russia would benefit from the aid.