UN chief: Russian grain and fertilizers must move "unimpeded"
The JCC agreement guarantees Russia the right to export its agricultural products and fertilizers despite Western sanctions.
Russian fertilizers and agricultural products must be able to reach world markets "unimpeded" or a global food crisis could strike as early as next year, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Saturday.
"It is important that all governments and the private sector cooperate to bring them to market," he said from the Joint Coordination Center (JCC).
The JCC oversees the implementation of the Ukrainian grain export agreement signed in July by Kiev and Moscow with the UN and Turkey as guarantors.
The agreement also guarantees Russia the right to export its agricultural products and fertilizers despite Western sanctions.
"What we see here in Istanbul and in Odessa is only the more visible part of the solution. The other part of this package deal is the unimpeded access to the global markets of Russian food and fertilizer, which are not subject to sanctions," Guterres said, adding that despite this, Russian fertilizer and agricultural exports still faced "obstacles."
"Without fertilizer in 2022, there may not be enough food in 2023. Getting more food and fertilizer out of Ukraine and Russia is crucial to further calm commodity markets and lower prices for consumers," he said.
Guterres traveled this week to Ukraine, where he met with the presidents of Ukraine and Turkey, Volodymyr Zelensky and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the western city of Lviv Thursday.
He headed to the southern city of Odessa on Friday.
Earlier Saturday, he visited the first aid ship chartered by the UN to transport Ukrainian grain on the southern shores of Istanbul in the Sea of Marmara.
The vessel named Brave Commander left the Ukrainian port of Pivdenny on Tuesday with 23,000 tonnes of wheat before crossing the Bosphorus on Wednesday evening.
The UN chief vowed Thursday that his organization would try to "step up" grain exports from Ukraine before the onset of winter, which are crucial for food supplies in many African countries.
Under the agreement signed in July, 650,000 tons of Ukrainian grain and agricultural products have left the Ukrainian ports of Odessa, Chornomorsk, and Pivdenny since August 1.
Ships must use a safe corridor to travel in the Black Sea and then be inspected by the JCC before being allowed to cross the Bosphorus Strait.
Cereal exports from Ukraine, one of the world's leading producers and exporters, were blocked for several months due to the war, raising fears of a global food crisis.
Yesterday, the WFP reported that 22 million are at risk of facing starvation in the Horn of Africa due to four failed rainy seasons have killed millions of livestock and destroyed crops.
The sanctions against Russia have worsened this situation as African nations have no access to grain or fertilizers from Russia.
Russia and Ukraine together account for 29 percent of the world’s wheat exports, which is why African nations depend on this grain.
But earlier today, Sevastopol Governor, Mikhail Razvozhayev, said that Russia's Black Sea Fleet’s headquarters was attacked by a drone Saturday with no casualties reported.
It is noteworthy that Russia and Ukraine signed the United Nations-brokered Black Sea Initiative on grain and fertilizer exports on July 22.
This deal is supposed to allow grain to flow safely across the Black Sea, easing the current global food crisis.