UN / GUTERRES BLACK SEA INITIATIVE

17-Jul-2023 00:05:22
The Secretary-General deeply regrets the decision by the Russian Federation to terminate the implementation of the Black Sea Initiative – including the withdrawal of Russian security guarantees for navigation in the northwestern part of the Black Sea. UNIFEED / FILE
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STORY: UN / GUTERRES BLACK SEA INITIATIVE
TRT: 5:22
SOURCE: UNIFEED
RESTRICTIONS: PLEASE CHECK SHOTLIST FOR DETAILS
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 17 JULY 2023, NEW YORK CITY / FILE
SHOTLIST
RECENT - NEW YORK CITY

1.Wide shot, exterior, United Nations Headquarters

17 JULY 2023, NEW YORK CITY

2.Wide shot, Guterres at the stakeout
3. SOUNDBITE (English) António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations:
“I deeply regret the decision by the Russian Federation to terminate the implementation of the Black Sea Initiative – including the withdrawal of Russian security guarantees for navigation in the northwestern part of the Black Sea. This Initiative has ensured the safe passage of over 32 million metric tons of food commodities from Ukrainian ports. The World Food Programme has shipped more than 725,000 tons to support humanitarian operations – relieving hunger in some of the hardest hit corners of the world, including Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa and Yemen. The Black Sea Initiative -- together with the Memorandum of Understanding on facilitating exports of Russian food products and fertilizers -- have been a lifeline for global food security and a beacon of hope in a troubled world. At a time when the production and availability of food is being disrupted by conflict, climate change, energy prices and more, these agreements have helped to reduce food prices by over 23 per cent since March last year. With the decision to terminate the Black Sea Initiative, the Russian Federation also terminated its commitment to “facilitate the unimpeded export of food, sunflower oil, and fertilizers from Ukrainian controlled Black Sea Ports” -- as expressed in Paragraph 1 of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Russian Federation and the United Nations."

RECENT – NEW YORK CITY

4. Wide shot, reporters

17 JULY 2023, NEW YORK CITY

5. SOUNDBITE (English) António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations:
“Ultimately, participation in these agreements is a choice. But struggling people everywhere and developing countries don’t have a choice. Hundreds of millions of people face hunger and consumers are confronting a global cost-of-living crisis. They will pay the price. Indeed, we are already seeing a jump in wheat prices this morning. I am aware of some obstacles that remained in the foreign trade of Russian food and fertilizer products. That is precisely why I sent a letter to President Putin with a new proposal to keep the Black Sea Initiative alive.

RECENT – NEW YORK CITY

6. Wide shot, reporters

17 JULY 2023, NEW YORK CITY

7. SOUNDBITE (English) António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations:
“I am deeply disappointed that my proposal went unheeded. Today’s decision by the Russian Federation will strike a blow to people in need everywhere. But it will not stop our efforts to facilitate the unimpeded access to global markets for food products and fertilizers from both Ukraine and the Russian Federation. I particularly want to recognize the efforts of the government of Türkiye in this regard.”

RECENT – NEW YORK CITY

8. Wide shot, reporters

17 JULY 2023, NEW YORK CITY

9. SOUNDBITE (English) António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations:
“Looking ahead, our goal must continue to be advancing global food security and global food price stability. This will remain the focus of my efforts, taking into account the rise in human suffering that will inevitably result from today’s decision. We will stay fixed on finding pathways for solutions. There is simply too much at stake in a hungry and hurting world.”
10. Wide shot, Guterres leaving the stakeout

FILE – UNODC – PLEASE CREDIT UNODC ON SCREEN

20 FEBRUARY 2023, BLACK SEA, TÜRKIYE

11. Aerial shots, grain ships awaiting inspection
12. Aerial shot, Bosporus Strait

FILE – UNODC – PLEASE CREDIT UNODC ON SCREEN

17 FEBRUARY 2023, ISTANBUL, TÜRKIYE

13. Med shot, corn shipment from Ukraine
14. Close up, Ukrainian corn
15. Med shot, pan of corn shipment from Ukraine
STORYLINE
The Secretary-General deeply regrets the decision by the Russian Federation to terminate the implementation of the Black Sea Initiative – including the withdrawal of Russian security guarantees for navigation in the northwestern part of the Black Sea.

Speaking to reporters today (17 Jul) in New York, Guterres said, “This Initiative has ensured the safe passage of over 32 million metric tons of food commodities from Ukrainian ports,” adding that the World Food Programme has shipped more than 725,000 tons to support humanitarian operations – relieving hunger in some of the hardest hit corners of the world, including Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa and Yemen.

The UN chief reiterated, “The Black Sea Initiative -- together with the Memorandum of Understanding on facilitating exports of Russian food products and fertilizers -- have been a lifeline for global food security and a beacon of hope in a troubled world.”

“At a time when the production and availability of food is being disrupted by conflict, climate change, energy prices and more, these agreements have helped to reduce food prices by over 23 per cent since March last year,” Guterres added.

He continued, “With the decision to terminate the Black Sea Initiative, the Russian Federation also terminated its commitment to “facilitate the unimpeded export of food, sunflower oil, and fertilizers from Ukrainian controlled Black Sea Ports” -- as expressed in Paragraph 1 of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Russian Federation and the United Nations.”

“Ultimately, participation in these agreements is a choice. But struggling people everywhere and developing countries don’t have a choice,” the UN chief highlighted.

He said, “Hundreds of millions of people face hunger and consumers are confronting a global cost-of-living crisis. They will pay the price.”

Guterres continued, “Indeed, we are already seeing a jump in wheat prices this morning.”

The UN chief said that he is aware of some obstacles that remained in the foreign trade of Russian food and fertilizer products. And that is precisely the reason he sent a letter to President Putin with a new proposal to keep the Black Sea Initiative alive.

In that letter, Guterres underlined, “Since the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, and also taking into account the measures adopted by the Russian Federation, Russian grain trade has reached high export volumes and fertilizer markets are stabilizing with Russian exports nearing full recovery, as stated by the Russian Union of Grain Exporters and Russian Fertilizer Producers Association.”

The letter went on to detail action by the United Nations, namely, “also delivered breakthroughs even in some of the most challenging areas of trade facilitation. The United Nations has helped to secure the issuance of: U.S. General License 6B and 6C, which are especially important in light of the extraterritorial nature of US sanctions as these licenses apply not only to US imports from the Russian Federation but also to all countries concerned with their sanctions regime; two UK General Licenses on finance and trade in food and fertilizers, which are especially important for the insurance market; and the derogation by the European Union in its ninth sanctions package, which allowed, for example, the unfreezing of assets of fertilizer companies, as well as a range of clarifications, Frequently Asked Questions, fact sheets and other guidance to the private sector. These regulatory frameworks, as well as extensive engagement with the private sector to find dedicated solutions across banking and insurance sectors have led to the progressive normalization of trading conditions since July 2022, including declining freight and insurance rates. Bulk vessel port calls at Russian ports have also remained mostly steady.”

The letter went on to detail how the UN has “built a bespoke payments mechanism for the Russian Agricultural Bank through JP Morgan outside of SWIFT.”

The letter also described how “The United Nations also has worked closely with the key Russian fertilizer groups to unblock assets … amounting to over 70 per cent of the frozen assets in the original list submitted to us by the Russian government in November 2022. Moreover, the United Nations has facilitated… the humanitarian donations of fertilizer to most in-need countries in Africa – [overcoming profound complexities].”

In his letter, the Secretary-General also mentioned that “the Russian Federation has highlighted the issue of access to SWIFT by the Russian Agricultural Bank as a key factor influencing its decisions. On this front, the United Nations recently brokered a concrete proposal to enable a subsidiary of the Russian Agricultural Bank to regain access to SWIFT with the European Commission. The key element underpinning this proposal’s political viability is that it can be implemented within existing regulations. We see this as a unique political opening, stemming from a genuine desire to protect global food security beyond 17 July.”

Guterres said he is “deeply disappointed that my proposal went unheeded.”

Today’s decision by the Russian Federation will strike a blow to people in need everywhere,” he reiterated, but it will not stop our efforts to “facilitate the unimpeded access to global markets for food products and fertilizers from both Ukraine and the Russian Federation.”

The UN chief recognized the efforts of the government of Türkiye in this regard.

Looking ahead, Guterres said, “our goal must continue to be advancing global food security and global food price stability.”

He explained, “This will remain the focus of my efforts, taking into account the rise in human suffering that will inevitably result from today’s decision.We will stay fixed on finding pathways for solutions.”

The UN chief concluded, “There is simply too much at stake in a hungry and hurting world.”
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