United Nations on Friday called for the removal of all obstacles to guarantee the uninterrupted continuation of the Black Sea grain deal.
Speaking at a Security Council meeting on Ukraine, Rosemary DiCarlo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, recalled the Black Sea Initiative has enabled the safe transportation of over 32 million metric tons of foodstuffs.
“We urge all obstacles to be removed to ensure the continuation of this agreement,” said DiCarlo. She voiced disappointment about the slowing pace of the implementation of the Initiative.
“Food exports through the maritime humanitarian corridor have dropped from a peak of 4.2 million metric tonnes in October to 1.3 million metric tonnes in May, the lowest volume
since the Initiative began,” she noted.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US envoy at the UN, said Russia has long blocked grain exports that benefit African and Middle Eastern countries and “feed so much of the world” for a long time.
“That’s what makes the Black Sea Grain Initiative such a critical arrangement, one that we must extend next month for the benefit of all,” she said.
Noting that Russia used the threat of withdrawing from the agreement, Thomas-Greenfield said: “We must urge Russia to stay in the Black Sea Grain Initiative”.
Geng Shuang, China’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, expressed deep concerns about the impact of the Ukraine crisis on the world economy, saying that people should be prevented from suffering.
Black Sea Grain Deal should be implemented in an effective and balanced way, and the agreement between Russia and the UN should be taken seriously, he said.
Meanwhile, Russia will continue to provide assistance to developing countries that need grain and fertilizer, Vassily Nebenzia, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN said.
“However, covering commercial supplies of grain from Ukraine to Western states, under slogans of protection of the interests of those in need, is something which we refuse to do. Contrary to the assertions of the Under Secretary General, they (the poorest countries) received less than 3% of all food deliveries,” he said.
The agreement, initially signed last July in Istanbul by Türkiye, the UN, Russia and Ukraine, aimed to resume grain exports from Ukrainian ports. The exports had been halted due to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine that began in February 2022.
The deal has been renewed several times since then and was extended for another two months on May 18.
On June 13, Guterres expressed concern that Russia would not extend the Black Sea grain deal beyond the July 17th deadline.
“I am concerned, and we are working hard in order to make sure that it will be possible to maintain the Black Sea Initiative and at the same time that we are able to go on in our work to facilitate Russian exports,” he said at the time.