Seychelles concerned about global food security due to Ukraine conflict
The ministry said that Seychelles will also continue to support the efforts of the United Nations organisation in its role of bringing the two countries together. (Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Global food security has always been a subject of great concern for Seychelles and the rest of Africa, the island nation's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in response to an online briefing by Ukraine's foreign minister on food security for African press.
Russia launched a wide-ranging attack on Ukraine on February 24, 2022, a war that has provoked global food shortages and a refugee crisis.
Dmytro Kuleba, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, answered questions from African journalists on how the Russian invasion has impacted food security on the African continent in an online briefing on June 23 coordinated by the U.S. Department of State's Africa Regional Media Hub.
In his opening remarks, Kuleba said that Ukraine provides 10 percent of the world's wheat, 14 percent of the world's corn, and 47 percent of all sunflower oil on the planet and that for many years, Ukraine has been a reliable and trustworthy partner of African states, especially in agricultural trade.
He urged African nations to put pressure on Russia to unblock food exports from ships held in ports in the Black Sea.
In a statement on Friday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Seychelles said that the ongoing crisis in Ukraine as well as the COVID- 19 pandemic have been major contributing factors in escalating the food crisis worldwide.
"Russia and Ukraine are two of the world's largest producers of wheat and fertilisers, and it is clear that the conflict in Ukraine is having a major impact on the shipment of these products to Africa, as well as on a great number of other countries," said the ministry.
"Seychelles encourages the two parties to establish an immediate ceasefire which will enable the resumption of exports of wheat and other essential food products. Seychelles' government is of the view that food security should not be a gambling tool as a result of conflicts," it added.
The ministry said that Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, will also continue to support the efforts of the United Nations organisation in its role of bringing the two countries together in order to find a peaceful resolution to this conflict.
Response from Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Upon contact with the Russian embassy in Seychelles, SNA received a press release from the Russian Federation's Ministry of Foreign Affairs which responds to statements being made concerning a food crisis being created by Russia, which it says are "groundless accusations" and that the real root causes of the problem are caused by mines in the Black Sea and Azov Sea that are hindering the movement of ships.
"Russia has never hindered the export of grain from Ukrainian Black Sea ports. In reality, safe navigation in Ukrainian territorial waters and the use of ports are currently impossible due to the high level of danger posed by mines and threat of shelling created by Kiev," says the press statement.
Russia accuses the Ukrainian authorities of planting about 420 anchor mines in the Black and Azov seas; some of them have floated offshore, to Bosporus and Dardanelles, and to the coastal waters of other Black Sea states, including Turkey and Romania.
The Russian government says that its military has created the necessary conditions for the safe operation of maritime humanitarian corridors in the Black Sea and in the Sea of Azov towards the Black Sea.
"Today, the ports of Mariupol and Berdyansk can be used to export agricultural produce. In addition, Russia has reaffirmed its readiness to facilitate and ensure the unhindered export of Ukrainian grain by foreign vessels, provided they can be inspected for arms smuggling and given that Kiev refrains from any provocations, mine threats and aggravating tensions in the Black Sea," said the ministry.