Guterres: signs of a declining food crisis as grain deal strives
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres holds a press conference following a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at Lviv where they discuss a possible UN mission to Zaporozhye via Kiev.
If Russia and Ukraine agree, the UN secretariat has the logistics and security capabilities to assist any IAEA mission to the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant (ZNPP) via Kiev, according to what UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, on Thursday, during a press conference in Lvov with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
"In close contact with the IAEA, the UN Secretariat has assessed that we have in Ukraine the logistics and security capacity to support any IAEA mission to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant from Kyiv, provided both Russia and Ukraine agree. We must spare no effort to ensure that plant’s facilities or surroundings are not a target of military operations," adding that the ZNPP should not become a space for military activities but "Instead, agreement is urgently needed to reestablish Zaporozhye as purely civilian infrastructure and to ensure the safety of the area," the UN chief added.
In a related vein, Guterres noted that since the UN-mediated grain deal was reached last month, over 20 ships have left Ukrainian ports, and an additional 15 ships have departed Istanbul for Ukraine to fill up with food. Due to the Black Sea grain agreement, Wheat prices have dropped by 8%, and the FAO Food Price Index has experienced its greatest dip since 2008.
"In less than one month, 21 ships have departed from Ukrainian ports and 15 vessels have left Istanbul for Ukraine to load up with grain and other food supplies," adding that "As we speak, more than 560,000 metric tons of grain and other food produced by Ukrainian farmers is making its way to markets around the world."
Furthermore, the Secretary-General continued "Wheat prices dropped by as much as 8% following the signing of the agreements. The FAO Food Price Index fell by 9% in July - the biggest decline since 2008. Most food commodities are now trading at prices below pre-war levels."
Guterres also spoke of signs of a declining food crisis by stating that "Meanwhile – and critically – we have seen signs that global food markets are beginning to stabilize," adding that "There is no solution to the global food crisis without ensuring full global access to Ukraine’s food products and Russian food and fertilizers."
Read more: Ukraine preparing to attack Zaporozhye NPP during Guterres' visit