UN to Continue Talks with EU, US, Russia on Grain Export

A high-level UN trade official has said the world body will continue to stay engaged with partners in the European Union, the United States and Russia to understand any obstacles to grain exports in the wake of the deal with Ukraine.

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Damilola Ogunbiyi, United Nations

"We will continue to be engaged. And obviously we will be talking to our partners in the rest of the world, in the EU, in the US and we will continue to talk to our Russian counterparts to understand what are the problems and obstacles that they're facing in terms of food and fertilizers and raw materials for fertilizers export," UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Secretary-General Rebecca Grynspan told Sputnik news agency.

This statement comes as the defence ministers of Russia and Turkey and the infrastructure minister of Ukraine met in Istanbul to ink an UN-brokered deal on grain exports that would allow Russia to export its grain and fertilizers, Washington Post reported.

The agreement has ended a wartime standoff that had threatened food security in several countries and cleared the way for exporting tons of Ukrainian grains.

"Today, there is a beacon on the Black Sea," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said. "A beacon of hope, a beacon of possibility, a beacon of relief in a world that needs it more than ever." "You have overcome obstacles and put aside differences to pave the way for an initiative that will serve the common interests of all," he said, addressing the Russian and Ukrainian representatives.

Guterres said that the "Black Sea Initiative," would open a path for significant volumes of commercial food exports from three key Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea: Odessa, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny and would also bring relief to developing countries on the edge of bankruptcy and the most vulnerable people at the brink of famine.

"It will help stabilize global food prices which were already at record levels even before the war - a true nightmare for developing countries," Guterres added.

The deal will enable Ukraine to export 22 million tons of grain and other agricultural products that have been stuck in Black Sea ports due to the war.

Notably, the deal will create provisions for the safe passage of ships. Moreover, a control centre will be established in Istanbul, staffed by UN, Turkish, Russian and Ukrainian officials, to run and coordinate the process and the ships would undergo inspections to ensure they are not carrying weapons.

Ukraine is regarded as the "breadbasket of Europe" supplying 10 per cent of the world's wheat, 12-17 per cent of the world's maize and half of the world's sunflower oil. Twenty-five million tonnes of corn and wheat - the entire annual consumption of all the least developed countries.

The West accused that Russia's actions have driven up prices in countries like the UK and the ongoing blockade has placed 47 million people around the world on the brink of humanitarian disaster.

Since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war, security experts say one of Moscow's earliest strategic aims quickly became apparent as its armoured columns advanced along the coast in an effort to seize Ukraine's coastline.

Russia United Nations EU US Grain Export