Black Sea grain deal extension vital to avoid ‘further shocks,’ Canada says – National

Canada is calling for the extension of the Black Sea grain deal, which allows for the use of Ukrainian ports for food grain shipments during the ongoing war.

The deal, which is set to expire on Monday, is crucial to avoid “further shocks” to the system, Global Affairs Canada told Global News on Friday.

“Canada calls for the continuation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative for as long as it is needed to avoid any further shocks to global food systems already strained by Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine,” a Global Affairs Canada spokesperson told Global News.

“Canada will continue to work with its partners to mitigate the impacts of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine on global food systems through humanitarian food and nutrition assistance as well as longer-term agriculture and food systems development assistance.”

A precarious deal brokered last summer to help feed the world hangs in the balance over whether Russian President Vladimir Putin, the United Nations and the European Union can break a deadlock.

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The deal was a crucial breakthrough, brokered by Turkey and the United Nations, that allowed Ukraine to ship 32.8 million metric tons of grain. More than half went to developing nations around the world that had been cut off during Russia’s invasion.

Ukraine and Russia are both major suppliers of food grains to many countries in Africa and western Asia, and the invasion had initially raised fears of a global food crisis if that access was cut off. While the Black Sea deal managed to stave off the worst, those fears have now returned.

Click to play video: '1st shipment of Ukrainian grain since Russian invasion departs Odesa port'

1st shipment of Ukrainian grain since Russian invasion departs Odesa port

Putin said on Thursday that Russia could withdraw from the deal until other sides fulfil their promises. Moscow has repeatedly threatened to block its extension over aspects of its implementation affecting Russia’s own exports.

Putin, speaking on state television, said Russia was in contact with the United Nations on the matter but said he had not seen a message addressed to him from the UN secretary-general suggesting a compromise to salvage the deal.

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He also wants concessions the EU has been hesitant to allow regarding the SWIFT international payment system and a Russian agricultural bank.

The lapsing of the deal would also mean that the World Food Program’s aid programs for at-risk countries, such as Ethiopia, Somalia and Afghanistan, would be threatened.

The pandemic has already pushed food-insecure people across the world to the brink.

— with files from The Associated Press and Reuters

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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