The European Union has urged Russia to reverse its decision to withdraw from a UN-brokered deal that allowed Ukraine, one of the world’s major grain producers, to export the commodity via the Black Sea.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Twitter: “Russia’s decision to suspend participation in the Black Sea deal puts at risk the main export route of much-needed grain and fertilisers to address the global food crisis caused by its war against Ukraine. The EU urges Russia to revert its decision.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said yesterday that he was “deeply concerned about the ongoing situation regarding the Black Sea Grain Initiative”. He added that he would delay his departure for the Arab League Summit in Algiers by one day to focus on keeping the grain deal alive.
On Saturday, Moscow announced it was suspending participation in the agreement in response to what it said was a major Ukrainian drone attack on its fleet in Crimea.
The US Department of State said in a statement: “The United States regrets Russia’s suspension of its participation in the operations of the UN-brokered Black Sea Grain Initiative. We urge all parties to keep this essential, life-saving Initiative functioning.
“The Black Sea Grain Initiative has already moved more than 9 million metric tons of food and brought prices down around the world, which has been critically important for low- and middle-income countries. It has been a success and must continue.
“Any act by Russia to disrupt these critical grain exports is essentially a statement that people and families around the world should pay more for food or go hungry. In suspending this arrangement, Russia is again weaponising food in the war it started, directly impacting low- and middle-income countries and global food prices and exacerbating already dire humanitarian crises and food insecurity.
“We urge the government of Russia to resume its participation in the Initiative, fully comply with the arrangement, and work to ensure that people around the world continue to be able to receive the benefits facilitated by the Initiative.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2022
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