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'Handful of donations' from Russia is not the same as Black Sea grain deal: UN chief

July 27, 2023 at 7:53 pm

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres holds a press conference at the UN Headquarters in New York, United States on December 19, 2022 [Selçuk Acar/Anadolu Agency]

The UN Secretary-General said, Wednesday,, that a “handful of donations” will not be the same as the Black Sea grain deal to help ease a global food crisis, as Russia offered to provide free grain to six African countries after its withdrawal from the agreement, Anadolu Agency reports.

In a press conference, Antonio Guterres warned that taking millions of tons of grains out of the market will lead to higher prices.

“The increase of prices will be paid by everybody everywhere and namely by developing countries and by the vulnerable people in middle income and even developed countries,” he said.

“So it’s not with a handful of donations to some countries, that we correct this dramatic impact that affects everybody, everywhere.”

READ: Turkiye hopes Black Sea grain deal will continue: National Defence Ministry

The accord was signed in Istanbul in July 2022 by Russia, Ukraine, Turkiye and the UN, creating a safe corridor through the Black Sea for exports from three Ukrainian ports halted since the war began in February of that year.

It helped rein in spiralling prices and ease a global food crisis by restoring the flow of wheat, sunflower oil, fertiliser and other products from Ukraine – one of the largest grain exporters in the world.

Moscow refused to extend the agreement beyond 17 July, saying parts related to its demands have “not been implemented so far”, referring to the removal of obstacles to its fertiliser exports, including the inclusion of the state-owned Russian Agricultural Bank in the SWIFT international payment system.

Russian President, Vladimir Putin, on Thursday announced that his country will provide free grain to six African countries in the next three to four months.

“We will be ready in the coming months, in the next three to four months, to provide Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Mali, Somalia, the Central African Republic, and Eritrea with 25,000-50,000 tons of grain free of charge. We will also provide free delivery of this product to consumers,” Putin told the opening ceremony of the second Russia-Africa summit in St. St. Petersburg.

READ: Putin says Russia will provide free grain to 6 African countries in next 3-4 months