Guterres seeks to ease restriction on potash export from Russia
The United Nations wants to broker a deal with Russia so that the prices of food drop as they surge due to Western sanctions on Moscow and the latter's suspension of fertilizer exports.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is pushing to ease restrictions on the export of potash fertilizers from Russia and Belarus, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday, citing diplomats familiar with the matter.
The UN chief had asked Moscow to allow some Ukrainian grain shipments to pass through its territories in exchange for easing restrictions on exports of potash fertilizer from Russia and Belarus, the report said.
Also according to the WSJ, Russia seems reluctant about striking a deal with the United Nations. Turkey, on the other hand, seems willing to reach an agreement on removing mines from the Black Sea to allow maritime traffic to pass.
The UN Security Council is unlikely to resolve the issue to free Ukrainian grain exports, several officials have said, despite the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) classification of Russia and Ukraine among the top global exporters of various staple foods, including wheat and corn.
Russia alone in 2021 was the leading exporter of nitrogen fertilizers, the second major supplier of potassium fertilizers, and the third-largest supplier of phosphorous fertilizers.
Western sanctions on Moscow imposed over the war in Ukraine have undermined Russia's sales of agricultural products around the globe, which prompted the Kremlin to suspend the export of fertilizers.
The sanctions fired back against the West, surging food prices in March to their highest levels ever, while the International Monetary Fund warned in April that global food prices will likely rise further in the future due to the war, the sanctions on Russia and Belarus, and climate issues ravaging the planet.
The US and its allies have rolled out comprehensive sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine war, including restrictions on the Russian central bank, export control measures, SWIFT cutoff for select banks, and closure of airspace to all Russian flights. Many of their companies have suspended their Russian operations, and the sanctions even affected agriculture and foodstuffs.
Belarus was sucked into the debacle due to its backing of Russia against NATO and Ukraine.