There is no other solution to the global food crisis than the prompt reintegration of both Russia and Ukraine into global food markets, despite the military conflict between the two countries, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday.
Speaking at a press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, he stressed that “a quick and decisive action” was needed to avoid food shortages, i.e. “lifting export restrictions, allocating surpluses and reserves to vulnerable populations and addressing food price increases to calm market volatility.”
“But let me be frank: There is no effective solution to the food crisis without reintegrating Ukraine’s food production, as well as of the food and fertilizers produced by Russia into world markets despite the war,” Guterres said.
He emphasized that the UN was doing everything it could to promote dialogue on the matter. According to Guterres, two UN teams are working to secure a “package deal” which would ensure the “safe and secure export” of Ukrainian-produced food along with Russian food and fertilizers via the Black Sea to global markets, especially to “developing countries.”
On Tuesday, Secretary General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development Rebeca Grynspan visited Moscow, where she had “constructive discussions” on food and fertilizer exports with Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Andrey Belousov. She then traveled to Washington to discuss the same issue.
Guterres’ remarks came as Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov issued a warning that the world was now “potentially on the verge of a very deep food crisis” which, according to him, was caused by “illegal restrictions” imposed on Russia. Peskov also blamed Ukrainian authorities for deploying mines in Black Sea ports that have made navigation unsafe.