UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Saturday that he is working with the United States and the European Union to overcome obstacles that prevent Russian food and fertilizer from reaching world markets.
Guterres said that under a UN-brokered deal in Turkey last month to resume Ukraine’s grain exports, cut off since the Russian invasion, more than 650,000 metric tons of grain and other food were already being exported.
“The other part of this package of measures is unhindered access to world markets for Russian food and fertilizers, which are not subject to sanctions,” Guterres said in Istanbul, Turkey, where he visited a coordination center that monitors exports.
He added that the countries that imposed sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine had made it clear that the measures did not apply to food and fertilizers, but added that there was a “chilling effect” on exports.
“There are certain obstacles and difficulties that need to be overcome in relation to shipping, insurance and finance,” Guterres told a news conference alongside Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar.
“Getting more food and fertilizer out of Ukraine and Russia is crucial to further calm commodity markets and lower prices for consumers,” he added.
Russia and Ukraine accounted for about a third of world wheat exports before the February 24 invasion, which Moscow calls a special military operation. Russia is also a major exporter of fertilizers.