UN chief ends trip to Europe with visit to ‘ships of hope’ |
Mr Guterres traveled to Istanbul on Saturday morning from Chisinau, Moldova – where he was invited to a working dinner with President Maia Sandu the evening before – and boarded a pilot boat in the Sea of Marmara, where he sailed alongside M/V. Brave Commander, the World Food Program (WFP) ship that picked up more than 23,000 tons of wheat in the port of Yuzhny/Pivdennyi, before heading to deliver the precious cargo to the Horn of Africa, to help people on the brink of starvation.
The Secretary-General, accompanied by a group of inspectors from the United Nations Joint Coordination Center (JCC) for the Black Sea Grain Initiative, also boarded the ship SSI INVINCIBLE II. The ship is on its way to Chornomorsk in Ukraine to load nearly 50,000 tonnes of grain – the largest cargo to leave Ukraine since the start of the war.
Accompanied by Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, the Secretary-General visited the Joint Coordination Centre. He met separately with the Russian and Ukrainian delegations at the CCM, then at an official CCM session, where he thanked all participants for their professionalism and humanity in ensuring that this initiative is a success for the peoples of the world. entire.
Central role of Türkiye
During a press conference with Minister Akar, the Secretary General thanked the Government of Turkey for its central role in the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
The collaborative work of the teams seated around the CCM table embodies what we can achieve with political will, cutting-edge operational expertise and collective effort, Guterres told reporters.
He described the ships he had just seen in the Sea of Marmara and Istanbul is only the most visible part of the solution. The other part of this comprehensive deal, he said, is unfettered access to global markets for Russian food and fertilizers, which are not subject to sanctions.
“Without fertilizer in 2022, there may not be enough food in 2023,” Guterres said. “Getting more food and fertilizer out of Ukraine and Russia is essential to further calm commodity markets and lower prices for consumers.”
UN Photo/Mark Garten
Ukraine’s contribution to human rights
The Secretary-General’s journey began on Wednesday, August 17, when he arrived in Lviv, Ukraine, having traveled from New York via Warsaw, Poland.
Prior to a trilateral meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey, the Secretary General briefly visited the Ivan Franko National University in Lviv.
He was welcomed and guided by Volodymyr Melnyk, the rector of the university, considered a center for the study of human rights.
Mr. Melnyk explained the significant contributions to global science, international law and diplomacy made by the university and its scholars. One of the School of International Law graduates, Louis Son, is a co-author of the United Nations Charter and Raphael Lemkin, another graduate, coined the term genocide.
Students at this university have gone on to be judges of the International Criminal Court or nominated for Nobel Prizes, including Jan Karski, the famous Polish diplomat who alerted the world to the ongoing holocaust during World War II.
Speaking to reporters, the Secretary-General underscored the links between the United Nations and academia, adding that today “increasingly, the contribution of civil society and the contribution of academia are essential to the development of modern democracies”.
“Full solidarity with the Ukrainian people”
In his remarks to the press following the trilateral meeting, the Secretary-General reiterated that the United Nations will continue to work in full solidarity with the Ukrainian people to mobilize all their capacities and resources – alongside national partners – in order to continue to provide humanitarian services. support for people in need wherever needed.
He also pointed out that the positive momentum on the food front reflects a victory for diplomacy and multilateralism. Getting more food and fertilizer out of Ukraine and Russia is essential to further calm commodity markets and lower prices. “It is essential to come to the aid of the most vulnerable people and countries,” he added.
The Secretary-General said he discussed the investigation into the tragic incident at a detention center in Olenivka, eastern Ukraine, on July 29, in which more than 50 prisoners of war Ukrainians were killed in an explosion.
Mr. Guterres announced that he was appointing General Carlos dos Santos Cruz of Brazil to lead a mission to investigate the killings. For the mission to work, he told reporters, it must have the necessary assurances to guarantee safe access to the site and any other relevant location. Simply put, the Secretary-General said, a fact-finding mission must be free to establish the facts.
The UN chief is on his way back to New York.