Secretary-General António Guterres said that a “critical step forward” had been taken to allow the “safe and secure export” of millions of tonnes of grain via the Black Sea, but emphasized that no formal agreement has yet been signed between Russia and Ukraine.
The Government of Türkiye has been working with the UN to broker a deal for weeks, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, saw a major rise in prices of grains, cooking oils, fuel and fertilizer, together with major supply chain issues across the world.
Much of the grain imported by developing countries comes from Ukraine, but since the invasion, the country’s Black Sea ports have been blockaded by Russia, including the crucial hub of Odesa.
“In a world darkened by global crises, today, at last, we have a ray of hope. A ray of hope to ease human suffering and alleviate hunger around the world. A ray of hope to support developing countries and the most vulnerable people. A ray of hope to bring a measure of much-needed stability to the global food system”, - said Mr. Guterres.
He added that the UN had been represented at the negotiations in Istanbul, by Humanitarian Affairs chief, Martin Griffiths, and Rebeca Grynspan, head of the UN Trade and Development agency, UNCTAD.
“Since the war started, I have been underlining the importance of having Ukraine’s food products and Russian food and fertilizer fully available in world markets. In the end, the aim of all parties is not just an agreement between Russia and Ukraine, but an agreement for the world”, - said the UN chief.