Guterres 'Disappointed' Over Grain Deal Halt

Guterres 'Disappointed' Over Grain Deal Halt

July 18, 2023, 7:27 a.m.

Russian leaders announced on Monday that they are pulling out of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, an agreement that has helped stabilize food costs around the world. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said millions of people will "pay the price."

Guterres said he is "deeply disappointed" that his proposals "went unheeded." He said the decision to withdraw from the deal will "strike a blow" to people in need.

The agreement has allowed Ukrainians to export grain and fertilizer to global markets. The last ship covered by the current deal has already sailed.

Russian leaders argue sanctions and restrictions on shipping have hampered their own exports. For example, they want to reconnect the national agricultural bank to the international payment system known as SWIFT. They said they would not return to the deal until Western leaders "fulfill their promises."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the deal should continue to operate even "without Russia." He said everyone has the right to stability and must ensure security and protection from "Russian madness."

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan helped broker the deal. He said he would call his "friend Putin" so operations can resume "without interruption."

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