Guterres hails ‘important step forward’ to resume grain exports from Ukraine |

General Secretary António Guterres said it had taken “an important step forward” to ensure the “safe and secure export” of millions of tons of grain across the Black Sea, but stressed that no official agreement had yet been signed between Russia and Ukraine.

Government Turkey has been working with the UN for weeks to broker a deal, after the February 24 Russian invasion of Ukraine led to massive increases in the prices of grains, cooking oils, fuels and fertilizers, as well as serious problems with supply chains around the world.

Need for stability

Much of the grain imported by developing countries comes from Ukraine, but since the invasion, the country’s Black Sea ports have been blocked by Russia, including the key transport hub of Odessa.

In a world marred by global crises, today we finally have a ray of hope“, Mr. Guterres said at a briefing for correspondents at UN Headquarters in New York.

“A beacon of hope for alleviating human suffering and alleviating hunger throughout the world. A beacon of hope for the support of developing countries and the most vulnerable segments of the population. A beacon of hope for bringing much-needed stability to the global food system“.

The head of the UN said that the UN at the talks in Istanbul was represented by the head of the department for humanitarian affairs, Martin Griffiths, and the head of the UN trade and development agency, Rebeca Greenspan. UNCTAD.

“From the very beginning of the war, I have emphasized the importance of Ukrainian food and Russian food and fertilizer being fully available on world markets,” the UN chief said.

“Agreement for Peace”

“In the end, the goal of all parties is not just an agreement between the Russian Federation and Ukraine, but an agreement for the whole world.”

He thanked Türkiye for their “outstanding efforts” in convening the talks and congratulated all participants for their work. to make an agreement for our common humanity.”

Today is an important and meaningful step. A step towards a comprehensive agreement. We also need to do more for struggling people and developing countries that have been hit by food, energy and financial crises through no fault of their own.”

The Importance of Dialogue

He recalled that the war in Ukraine continues, but “encouraging news” from the talks in Istanbul:shows the importance of dialogue“.

In response to questions from reporters, the Secretary General said he hoped the first meeting in Istanbul would lead to another one “very soon”, perhaps next week.

Asked about the broader possibility of reaching a peace deal between Russia and Ukraine to end the fighting, Mr. Guterres said there was still “a long way to go”, though Wednesday’s events were an extremely encouraging sign.

© FAO/Genya Savilov

A truck unloads corn grains at a grain processing plant in Skvyra, Ukraine.

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