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G20 pushes for Black Sea grain deal revival, end to attacks on food security infra

G20 Leaders' Summit: The New Delhi Leaders' Declaration has stressed the importance of the grain transport agreement to meeting the demand of developing and least developed countries, particularly those in Africa

September 09, 2023 / 06:58 PM IST
A day after it pulled out of the grain supply agreement on July 17, Russia attacked Ukrainian ports.

A day after it pulled out of the grain supply agreement on July 17, Russia attacked Ukrainian ports

The G20 has called for the immediate revival of the Black Sea grain initiative to ensure that developing and least developed countries, particularly those in Africa, do not suffer.

Following an earlier-than-anticipated arrival of a consensus, the Leaders' Declaration said the G20 called for the "full, timely and effective implementation" of the MoU between Russia and the UN on promoting Russian food products and fertilisers to world markets and the Initiative on the Safe Transportation of Grain and Foodstuffs from Ukrainian Ports, or the Black Sea Initiative.

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"In this context, emphasising the importance of sustaining food and energy security, we called for the cessation of military destruction or other attacks on relevant infrastructure," the Leaders' Declaration said.

Also read: G20 Summit: PM Modi announces adoption of New Delhi Leaders' Declaration

On July 17, Russia said that it would be revoking its involvement in the agreement that allowed grain to be moved from Ukraine to Africa and Asia to tackle the food crisis caused by the war, which pushed up prices to eye-watering levels. Russia has said that it will honour the deal after "the part of the Black Sea deal related to Russia is implemented".

After pulling out of the pact on July 17, Russia attacked Ukrainian ports on July 18. At the meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in Gandhinagar in July, members of the G20 had condemned Russia for pulling out of the deal.

According to the UN, more than 32 million tonnes of food commodities were exported from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports to 45 countries across three continents under the initiative to help bring down spiralling prices in the aftermath of Russia's attack on Ukraine.

Russia and Ukraine are major exporters of wheat, barley and edible oils, among other food products that developing nations rely on.

The New Delhi Declaration also said the G20 leaders "expressed deep concern about the adverse impact that conflicts have on the security of civilians thereby exacerbating existing socio-economic fragilities and vulnerabilities and hindering an effective humanitarian response".

Speaking to reporters after consensus on the declaration was reached, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said "many discussions were going on" as far as the Black Sea grain initiative is concerned, given the fact almost all parties involved were present in New Delhi for the Leaders' Summit – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Turkiye President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

Also read: WTO to have a fully functional dispute settlement system by 2024: G20 leadership declaration

"So it's natural that there would be discussions going on on this. In the past, when the grain corridor was created at Bali last year, we had also in our own way contributed to some bridging of viewpoints and concerns, both between Turkiye and Russia and also worked with the UN Secretary-General," Jaishankar said.

Siddharth Upasani is a Special Correspondent at Moneycontrol. He has been covering the Indian economy, economic data, and monetary and fiscal policies for nine years. He tweets at @SiddharthUbiWan. Contact:
first published: Sep 9, 2023 06:56 pm

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