Rome, Jun 8 (EFE).- Leaders of the Mediterranean region and the United Nations Wednesday called on Russia to end its blockade of Ukrainian ports in a bid to free up grain exports and stave off a looming global food crisis.
“The next few weeks will be crucial to resolving the situation,” Italian foreign minister, Luigi di Maio, said at the Ministerial Mediterranean Dialogue on Food Crisis organized by Italy’s foreign ministry and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome.
“I want to say clearly, we expect clear and concrete signals from Russia, because blocking grain exports means holding hostage and condemning to death millions of children, women and men,” he added.
Director-General of the FAO, QU Dongyu, urged Mediterranean countries to work together to mitigate food security risks that have been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.
“It is high time to transform agrifood systems for people, peace and prosperity, by working together in partnership,” Dongyu told the 24 ministers and government participants who participated in the event.
Dongyu added that food insecurity and high prices was a trigger for instability and that these would affect countries that were already in a fragile state.
“The war in Ukraine must stop at any cost,” Lebanon’s foreign affairs minister Abdallah Bou Habib told the meeting.
“The world cannot continue to be at the mercy of military crises in Europe or other regions of the world,” he added.
The Mediterranean Sea region includes 22 countries on three continents and many rely on cereal imports from Ukraine and Russia to feed their population.
“We must work together for better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life for all, leaving no one behind,” Dongyu said. EFE