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United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told CGTN in an exclusive interview on Friday that “the Black Sea initiative has already led to a meaningful decrease in the prices of foodstuffs all over the world.”

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, brokered by the UN and Türkiye, allows for commercial food exports from three key Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea.

On a visit to Ukraine’s port city of Odesa, where grain exports are flowing after a near six-month standstill, Guterres cautioned that much more was needed, particularly for developing countries.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, UN Secretary-General Guterres in Kyiv, Ukraine

Developing countries still need support “in a world where there is still so much inequality, and where there are still high prices in fuel, high prices in transportation,” he said. “Let us create the conditions for developing countries to be able to buy it.”

Under the deal which was signed on July 22, 25 boats carrying some 600,000 tonnes of agricultural products have departed from Ukrainian ports and 15 vessels have left Istanbul for Ukraine to load up with grain and other food supplies, Kyiv said on Thursday.

The first ship of grain to depart Ukraine under the deal, the Sierra Leone-flagged Razoni, set sail from Ukraine’s Odesa port on August 1 and was spotted in Syria last week, satellite images analyzed on Tuesday by The Associated Press showed.

The United Nations-chartered Brave Commander, which is loaded with 23,000 tonnes of wheat, left the Ukrainian port of Pivdennyi on Tuesday and was expected to arrive in the Horn of Africa in two weeks, Ukraine’s Infrastructure Ministry said in a statement.

Guterres’ warning on Zaporizhzhia

On another hot topic related to the Ukraine crisis, Guterres said that it was important steps are taken to avoid disaster at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

“I believe it’s essential to come to an agreement that will not allow any military operations in relation to the area and at the same time, that would allow it to return to its civilian nature,” he said.

Moscow and Kyiv have accused each other of shelling Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, which was captured by Russia in March but is still run by Ukrainian technicians. Only two of the facility’s six reactors are working.

UN chief’s second visit to Ukraine

Before his visit to Odesa, Guterres met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ukraine on Thursday.

After the trip in Ukraine, he will head to Istanbul, Türkiye, to visit the Joint Coordinating Center, the mechanism that supports implementation of the Black Sea initiative on grain exports.

The trip is Guterres’ second visit to Ukraine since the conflict erupted on February 24. The secretary-general paid his first visit to Ukraine at the end of April when he visited the outskirts of the capital, Kyiv, and met with Zelenskyy and other officials.

(With input from Agencies)

Published By Odoh Dominic Chukwuemeka

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