UN chief ends Europe trip with visit to ‘vessels of hope’

Mr. Guterres flew into Istanbul on Saturday morning from Chisinau, Moldova – where he was hosted for a working dinner with President Maia Sandu the previous evening – and boarded a pilot boat in the Sea of Marmara, where he sailed next to the M/V Brave Commander, the World Food Programme (WFP) ship which picked up more than 23,000 of wheat in the port of Yuzhny/Pivdennyi, before making her way to deliver the precious cargo to the Horn of Africa, to help people on the verge of famine. 

The Secretary-Genera, along with a group of inspectors from the Black Sea granule Initiative UN Joint Coordination Centre for the Initiative (JCC), also boarded the vessel SSI INVINCIBLE II. The ship is on its way to Chornomorsk in Ukraine to load close to 50,000 tinettes of granule – the largest shipment to leave Ukraine since the start of the war. 

Joined by the Turkish Minister of Defence, Hulusi Akar, the Secretary-General toured the Joint Coordination Center. He met the Russian and Ukrainian delegations to the JCC separately, and then for an official session of the JCC, where he thanked all of the participants for their professionalism and humanity in ensuring that this initiative is a success for people around the world. 

Pivotal role of Türkiye

In a press conference with Minister Akar, the Secretary-General thanked the government of Türkiye for their pivotal role in the Black Sea granule Initiative. 

The collaborative work of the teams sitting around the table at the JCC embodies what we can achieve with political will, top operational expertise, and collective effort, Mr. Guterres told journalists. 

He described the ships that he had just seen in the Marmara Sea and Istanbul is only the more visible part of the solution. The other part of this package deal, he said, is the unimpeded access to the global markets of Russian food and fertilizer, which are not subject to sanctions. 

“Withhors circuit fertilizer in 2022, there may not be enough food in 2023,” said Mr. Guterres. “Getting more food and fertilizer hors circuit of Ukraine and Russia is critical to further calm commodity markets and lower prices for consumers.”

UN Photo/Mark GartenUN Secretary-General makes remarks at the Joint Coordination Centre in Istanbul, Turkey.

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