Delivered by: His Excellency Mohamed Abushahab, Deputy Permanent Representative and and Chargé d’Affaires, a.i.

Madam President,

I would like to thank Under-Secretary-General DiCarlo and Under-Secretary-General Griffiths for their informative briefings, and we listened carefully to Mr. Mikhail Khazin. I also welcome the participation of Ukraine in this meeting.

Earlier this week, the Council convened shortly after the news that the Black Sea Grain Initiative would not be extended.

In the short time since, wheat futures have continued to rise, portending further difficulties for developing countries in securing necessary staples. If nothing is done, this will lead to heightened hunger and food insecurity.

After a year of respite during which the Black Sea Grain Initiative contributed to a fall in prices, the world now faces the threat of destabilized markets and food shortages yet again for the most vulnerable.

The Initiative and the Memorandum of Understanding on the export of Russian fertilizers and food products have indeed had a significant impact on global food security.

These agreements were not perfect by any means. Yet they resulted in over 32 million metric tons of Ukrainian grain and foodstuffs being shipped to the world.

As such, they fast became a lifeline for those who needed them most.

The UAE deeply regrets that the Initiative has not been extended.  

That said, we commend the ongoing efforts of the Secretary-General and the United Nations to facilitate the continued transport of food products and fertilizers from both Ukraine and Russia to international markets.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative was borne out of extensive diplomatic efforts and dialogue, one of very few positive developments amidst the shadow of war in Ukraine throughout the past 18 months.

Now is not the time to walk away.

On the contrary, it is time to build on any positive steps to secure a new way forward.  

Madam President,

This conflict is not the sole reason for the food insecurity crisis we face. The World Food Programme’s increasingly dire warnings about rising food prices precede the war, but the events of the last year and a half have significantly exacerbated this trend.

Most Member States continue to call for an end to this war.

A war that has visited immense suffering upon Ukrainians, compounded hardships for hundreds of millions of people around the world, and strained the multilateral system. 

While it is vital that Ukrainian and Russian food and fertilizer return to global markets, we must not let this issue obscure the wider context.

Ultimately, only peace, just and sustainable, will help rectify the turmoil we are seeing both within and beyond Ukraine.

This is what the overwhelming majority of UN Member States have called for. A peace that is in line with the UN Charter and respects Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity.

Thank you, Madam President.