19 May, 2022 09:39
Russian exports can solve global food crisis – UN
António Guterres urges to reintegrate the sanctioned country’s food produce and fertilizers into the world markets
© Getty Images / Peter Dazeley
Food products and fertilizers from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus must be allowed on the world markets if the global community wants to stem an unfolding food crisis, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said at a ministerial meeting on global food security on Wednesday.
“Let’s be clear, there is no more effective solution to the food crisis without the reintegration of Ukrainian food production, as well as food and fertilizer produced by Russia and Belarus, into world markets,” he stressed.
Earlier this month, Guterres warned that a fifth of humanity was at risk of poverty and hunger due to the current situation in the grain market, with wheat prices soaring following Western sanctions imposed on Russia and Belarus. Russian President Vladimir Putin recently stated that the threat of a global famine is the result of the West’s “sanctions obsession.”
According to Guterres, instead of being the sole reason behind the current food crisis, Russia’s military operation has added to the problems that were already affecting the situation, namely climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic. Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, he stressed, are leaders in the production of fertilizers and food products, which should not be overlooked.
Wheat prices to surge as Ukraine’s harvest shrinks – official
Guterres pointed out that Moscow should stop blocking the export of food from Ukrainian ports. At the same time, fertilizers and food products from Russia should be allowed to the world markets without obstacles, as well, he continued.
“I am in close contact on these issues with the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Turkey, the United States, and the European Union, as well as a number of other key countries. I am sure that there is still a long way to go,” the official said.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken denied allegations that sanctions against Russia are the reason for the deterioration of the food situation in the world. He pointed out that Washington has made exceptions to restrictive measures for fertilizers and agricultural products, adding that international organizations and authorities of various concerned countries can work together to open corridors for the safe export of food from the territory of Ukraine, both by land and sea. However, Russian Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov recently said that Ukrainian ports are “heavily mined” and pose a danger to shipping until they are cleared.