Russian crops, fertilizer must move ’unimpeded’: UN chief

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Aug. 20 thanked Türkiye for its "pivotal role" in the signing of the recent grain export deal.

His remarks came during a joint press conference with Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar at the Joint Coordination Center. 

Russian fertilizers and agricultural products must be able reach world markets "unimpeded" or a global food crisis could strike as early as next year, Guterres said.

"It is important that all governments and the private sector cooperate to bring them to market," he said from the Joint Coordination Center.

The JCC oversees the implementation of the Ukrainian grain export agreement signed in July by Kyiv and Moscow with the U.N. and Türkiye as guarantors.

The agreement also guarantees Russia the right to export its agricultural products and fertilizers despite Western sanctions.

"What we see here in Istanbul and in Odessa is only the more visible part of the solution. The other part of this package deal is the unimpeded access to the global markets of Russian food and fertilizer, which are not subject to sanctions," Guterres said, adding that despite this, Russian fertilizer and agricultural exports still faced "obstacles."

"Without fertilizer in 2022, there may not be enough food in 2023. Getting more food and fertilizer out of Ukraine and Russia is crucial to further calm commodity markets and lower prices for consumers," he said.

Guterres traveled this week to Ukraine, where he met with the presidents of Ukraine and Türkiye, Volodymyr Zelensky and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in the western city of Lviv Thursday.

He headed to the southern city of Odessa on Friday.

Earlier Saturday, he visited the first aid ship chartered by the United Nations...

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