UNITED STATES/RUSSIA: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Saturday that the United Nations was working with the United States and the European Union to overcome obstacles preventing Russian food and fertilizer from reaching the world markets.
Guterres said more than 650,000 metric tons of grain and other food are already being exported under a U.N. brokered deal in Turkey last month to restore Ukraine’s grain exports cut off since the Russian invasion in February.
“The second part of this package is unrestricted access to world markets for Russian food and fertilizers that are not subject to sanctions,” Guterres said in Istanbul, where he visited a coordination centre overseeing exports.
He said countries that had imposed sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine had made it clear that the measures did not apply to food and fertiliser, but added that there had still been a “cooling” of exports.
“There are a certain number of obstacles and difficulties that need to be overcome with shipping… to insurance and… finance,” Guterres told a news conference alongside Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar.
Guterres said the UN was working with Washington and the European Union to remove these obstacles.
“Getting more food and fertilizer from Ukraine and Russia is essential to further calm commodity markets and lower prices for consumers,” he said.
Russia and Ukraine accounted for about a third of global wheat exports before Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion, which Moscow calls a special military operation. Russia is also a major exporter of fertilizers.