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‘Poor countries hardest hit’ — Okonjo-Iweala reacts to Ukraine grain deal collapse

‘Poor countries hardest hit’ — Okonjo-Iweala reacts to Ukraine grain deal collapse
July 17
21:11 2023

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), has expressed disappointment at Russia’s decision to halt its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

The former minister of finance made this known in a tweet on Monday. 

TheCable had earlier reported that Russia said it would no longer cooperate with a deal that allowed the safe Black Sea export of Ukraine’s grain.

The deal, known as the Black Sea Grain Initiative, was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey.


The initiative was established in July 2022 to abate a global food crisis after Russia invaded Ukraine — a neighboring country and fellow key grain exporter.

The deal allowed for commercial food and fertilizer (including ammonia) exports from three key Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea – Odesa, Chornomorsk, Yuzhny/Pivdennyi.

“The Black Sea agreements ceased to be valid today. As the President of the Russian Federation said earlier, the deadline is July 17. Unfortunately, the part relating to Russia in this Black Sea agreement has not been implemented so far. Therefore, its effect is terminated,” Dmitry Peskov, spokesperson of Russian President Vladimir Putin, told journalists.


Reacting to the development, Okonjo-Iweala said the stoppage of the deal would be felt most severely by poor countries.

“Deeply disappointed at the termination of the Black Sea Grain Initiative and the interruption of the grain trade from Ukraine. I share UN SG at antonioguterres’ regret and concern,” she tweeted. 

“Black Sea trade in food, feed & fertilizer is critical to the stability of global food prices. Sad to say that poor people & poor countries are hardest hit. Let’s keep hope alive on renewal.”



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