NEW YORK: UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Thursday welcomed the renewal of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which had been due to expire on Saturday.
More than 11.1 million tonnes of essential foodstuffs have been shipped as part of the agreement involving Türkiye, Ukraine, Russia and the United Nations, since it was signed on 22 July.
Speaking from Cairo, where Mr. Guterres was en route from the G20 summit in Bali to the COP 27 climate conference in Sharm el Sheikh, he said in a video tweet that he was “deeply moved” and grateful that an agreement had been reached in Istanbul.
The UN chief also expressed his deep commitment to remove the “remaining obstacles to the unimpeded exports of Russian food and fertilizers”, as these remain “essential” to avoid a food crisis next year.
He also praised the role of Türkiye and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, noting that Istanbul has become an “essential centre for discreet diplomacy to solve dramatic problems”.
He expressed deep gratitude to the Turks for their generosity and “very effective commitment”.
In a separate statement, Mr. Guterres insisted that the United Nations remained “fully committed” to supporting the initiative’s Joint Coordination Centre which oversees ship movements to and from Ukraine, “so that this vital supply line continues to function smoothly”.
Essential tool against hunger
He said both agreements signed three months ago “are essential to bring down the prices of food and fertilizer and avoid a global food crisis.
“The Black Sea Grain Initiative continues to demonstrate the importance of discreet diplomacy in the context of finding multilateral solutions.”