Russia further extends Black Sea Grain Initiative by 60 days
Moscow/New York: Ending the suspense, Russia today confirmed the extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative by another two months as announced by President of Türkiye Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“It is one more chance to help ensure global food security not on paper but in real life and above all help the countries that need this most of all. Second, our position of principle regarding the Istanbul agreements reached on July 22, 2022, has not changed. Imbalances in their implementation must be mended as soon as possible,” Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said in Moscow.
The Black Sea Initiative, signed in Istanbul on 22 July 2022 to resume vital food and fertilizer exports from designated Ukrainian seaports.
Welcoming the decision the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said in New York “The continuation is good news for the world”. He added: “These agreements matter for global food security. Ukrainian and Russian products feed the world.”
Guterres said the importance of the initiative – and the parallel Memorandum of Understanding between the UN and the Russian Federation on promoting Russian food products and fertilizers to world markets – “is clear”…I hope we will reach a comprehensive agreement to improve, expand and extend the initiative”.
Under the initiative, more than 30 million tons of grain and foodstuffs have been exported. Vital food supplies are reaching some of the world’s most vulnerable people and places – including 30,000 tons of wheat that just left Ukraine aboard a ship chartered by the World Food Programme to feed hungry people in Sudan.
The agreements matter, the UN chief said, “because we are still in the throes of a record-breaking cost-of-living crisis.”
Over the last year, the agreements helped stabilize markets and reduce volatility. Global food prices have fallen by 20% from the all-time high reached in March 2022. Guterres said the agreements “demonstrate that, even in the darkest hours, there is always a beacon of hope and an opportunity to find solutions that benefit everyone”.
He conveyed his appreciation to all those taking part in the negotiations “in a spirit of constructive engagement”.
He added: “Looking ahead, we hope that exports of food and fertilizers, including ammonia, from the Russian Federation and Ukraine will be able to reach global supply chains safely and predictably – as foreseen in both the Black Sea Initiative and the Memorandum of Understanding on Russian food and fertilizer exports – the implementation of which the United Nations is fully committed to support.
– global bihari bureau