Head of the UN World Food Program David Beasley meets with residents of Wagalla village in northern Kenya on Friday, August 19, 2022 UN: US will buy Ukrainian grain for regions of the world threatened by famine
UN Secretary General António Guterres on Saturday visited a center in Istanbul that coordinates the implementation of an agreement to resume grain exports from Ukraine
The United States will purchase about 150,000 tons of grain from Ukraine in the next few weeks for the upcoming delivery of food aid under the agreements on the resumption of grain exports from Ukrainian Black Sea ports. David Beasley, head of the UN World Food Program (WFP), told the Associated Press about this.
The grain's final destinations have yet to be confirmed and talks are still ongoing, Beasley said. However, the planned shipment – one of several currently underway by the UN anti-hunger agency – is more than six times the amount of grain on board that the agency sent from Ukraine to the Horn of Africa region in the northeast of the continent, which is at risk of starvation. .
Recently, residents of the region, which includes Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia, have faced famine due to drought. Thousands of people have already died of malnutrition in Somalia, and in total, according to the UN, 22 million people are starving in the region.
The long-awaited vessel from Ukraine will deliver 23,000 tons of grain to the region, Beasley said, enough to feed 1.5 million people for a month. The ship is expected to dock in Djibouti on August 26 or 27, while the wheat is expected to be sent overland to northern Ethiopia, where millions of people in the Tigray, Afar and Amhara regions are facing not only drought but ethnic conflict.
UN Secretary General António Guterres said on Saturday that, in accordance with a deal concluded last month to resume grain exports from Ukraine, which ceased immediately after the Russian invasion, Kyiv has already exported more than 650,000 tons of grain from the country.
UN Secretary General António Guterres visits a ship carrying grain from Ukraine in the port of Istanbul, Turkey, August 20, 2022
“Another part of this package deals – unhindered access to world markets for Russian food and fertilizer products that are not subject to sanctions,” Guterres said in Istanbul, where he visited the coordination center involved in the implementation of agreements on grain exports.
He said those countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine have made it clear that the restrictive measures do not apply to food and fertilizers, but added that it nevertheless had a “chilling effect.” for export.
“There are a certain number of obstacles and difficulties that need to be overcome in terms of shipping, insurance and finance,” Guterres said, speaking at a press conference along with Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar.
Guterres said the United Nations is working with Washington and the European Union to remove these obstacles.
“Getting more food and fertilizer from Ukraine and Russia is critical to further calm commodity markets and reduce consumer prices,” he stressed.
Until February 24, Russia and Ukraine accounted for about a third of world wheat exports. Russia is also a major exporter of fertilizers.