UK is set to host a global food security conference on November 20, addressing the pressing issue of Russia’s control over grain exports from conflict-ridden Ukraine.
Downing Street has announced that the UK is set to host a global food security conference on November 20, addressing the pressing issue of Russia’s control over grain exports from conflict-ridden Ukraine.
This significant global food security conference is being organized in collaboration with partners including the UAE, Somalia, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Children’s Investment Fund.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is expected to underscore the impact of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to withdraw from the Black Sea grain deal, which has contributed to surging food prices worldwide.
This initiative comes in conjunction with Prime Minister Sunak’s continued condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at the upcoming G20 summit in India.
While Mr. Putin has opted not to attend the New Delhi G20 leaders’ gathering in person, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is slated to be present.
No. 10 has affirmed that Prime Minister Sunak will not shy away from confronting Mr. Lavrov “to his face” during sessions over the weekend. This follows the UK government’s announcement of military and financial support to ensure food exports can depart from Kyiv.
Prime Minister Sunak remarked, “Once again, Vladimir Putin is failing to show his face at the G20. He is the architect of his own diplomatic exile, isolating himself in his presidential palace and blocking out criticism and reality. The rest of the G20, meanwhile, are demonstrating that we will turn up and work together to pick up the pieces of Putin’s destruction.”
The Black Sea grain deal, initially inked in July 2022 and extended every three months over the past year, facilitated the export of 33 million tonnes of grain and food from Ukraine, with a majority going to impoverished regions globally, as reported by the UN.
Since the deal’s termination, Russia has declared that all ships en route to Ukrainian Black Sea ports will be treated as military vessels, regardless of their cargo. This stance led to incidents where Russia fired shots and boarded a cargo ship bound for one of Ukraine’s Danube ports – actions that the UK considers a potential breach of international humanitarian law.
In response, the UK government is gearing up to employ intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance to monitor Russian activity in the Black Sea, with the aim of preventing attacks on civilian shipping or infrastructure. Additionally, RAF aircraft will conduct flights in the area to deter potential strikes against civilian vessels transporting grain.
Moreover, the UK will contribute £3 million to the World Food Programme in support of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s Grain From Ukraine initiative, aimed at aiding countries grappling with the high global prices of essential staples. This initiative underscores the UK’s commitment to addressing the critical issue of food security on a global scale.