US Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink on Friday hailed the extension of the Black Sea Grain initiative, saying that it is important to expand the deal as it is the “lifeline” for vulnerable countries in the world suffering from food insecurity. Last week, Ukraine and Turkey made a formal announcement that the wartime Black Sea deal that would allow Ukrainian grain shipments bound for the international market to be exported via the Black Sea ports is extended by 60 days. The deal was renewed on the eve of the expiration and now enables Ukraine to export grain despite the war, the United Nations’ humanitarian chief declared. This would keep global food prices in check and will keep grain costs from spiralling due to the ongoing invasion of Kyiv which is known as the world’s breadbasket.
“The Black Sea Grain Initiative makes possible this vital lifeline to support the world’s most food insecure people and ensures Ukrainian grain reaches those most in need. G7 leaders have made clear it is important to continue and expand this initiative,” Brink said on Twitter.
At the UN Security Council, Russia’s Envoy Vassily Nebenzia noted that Russia chose to extend the Black Sea Grain deal by only half of the initially agreed 120 days “to hold out for changes” on how the package will be implemented. The initiative was mediated by Turkey, and the UN between the warring countries last July to ship food and fertiliser from three Black Sea ports where Russia’s Black Sea Fleet boasts a heavy naval presence.
A memorandum of understanding was reached by the countries with the United Nations to overcome military obstacles to the Ukrainian shipments leaving from ports for the global markets. The original deal that was renewed for the first time last November was originally extended by 120 days. It would have been automatically renewed for 120 days but Russia formally objected to that time period.
An estimated 25 million metric tonnes of foodstuff has been exported since last August despite the conflict between the vulnerable countries of the world, UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths had said at a breifing. UN-brokered Black Sea grain initiative has led to the global food prices to continue to plunge and avert the war repercussions, he stressed. UN World Food Program, said Griffiths, has been to export half a million metric tons of wheat across war-torn countries of Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Yemen under the deal.
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