UN chief welcomes renewal of Black Sea Grain Initiative


CAIRO — UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Thursday welcomed the renewal of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which had been due to expire on Saturday.

More than 11.1 million tons of essential foodstuffs have been shipped as part of the agreement involving Türkiye, Ukraine, Russia and the United Nations, since it was signed on July 22.

Speaking from Cairo, where Guterres was en route from the G20 summit in Bali to the COP27 climate conference in Sharm El Sheikh, he said in a video tweet that he was “deeply moved” and grateful that an agreement had been reached in Istanbul.

The UN chief also expressed his deep commitment to remove the “remaining obstacles to the unimpeded exports of Russian food and fertilizers”, as these remain “essential” to avoid a food crisis next year.

He also praised the role of Türkiye and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, noting that Istanbul has become an “essential center for discreet diplomacy to solve dramatic problems”.

He expressed deep gratitude to the Turks for their generosity and “very effective commitment”.

In a separate statement, Guterres insisted that the United Nations remained “fully committed” to supporting the initiative’s Joint Coordination Centre which oversees ship movements to and from Ukraine, “so that this vital supply line continues to function smoothly”.

He said both agreements signed three months ago “are essential to bring down the prices of food and fertilizer and avoid a global food crisis.

“The Black Sea Grain Initiative continues to demonstrate the importance of discreet diplomacy in the context of finding multilateral solutions.”

In a series of tweets, the President of the UN General Assembly, Csaba Kőrösi, commended all parties to the agreements on grain and fertilizer, and expressed his gratitude to the Secretary-General for his leadership and “unrelenting commitment” to restoring the world’s food supply.

He said the initiative was “a strong example of crisis management in action, and shows “what is possible when diplomacy, dialogue and multilateralism are prioritized.”

He added that it would help ease the suffering of millions impacted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. — UN News

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