Weaponizing food by Putin is a huge mistake, says French President
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday responded to Kurdistan 24 correspondent Barzan Hassan in Brussels concerning the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, and the United Nations signed the Black Sea Grain Initiative during the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022. The initiative sought to relieve the global wheat shortage caused by the Ukraine War by forcing Russia to allow Ukrainian grain exports to resume.
In answering Hassan’s question that whether suspending the grain deal by Russia would affect food prices in Europe and the world, the French President responded that he hopes this is not the case but he thinks that “Russia decided first to take a huge responsibility.”
“I think the Middle Eastern, African and Asian countries are very much dependent on this agreement which will be impacted by the unilateral decision of Russia,” Macron added.
Regarding Russian President Vladimir Putin's weaponization of food, he stressed that “this is a huge mistake.”
“Our responsibility is to work very closely in order to facilitate the exit of grains, cereals as well as fertilizers in order to sustain and follow up and this is the core of the farm initiative we launched more than one year ago,” Macron noted.
Moreover, he said that it was a French initiative, and they teamed up with the EU and the African Union precisely to “help those who work under stress regarding food security.”
On Monday, Kurdistan 24 correspondent Barzan Hassan also interviewed Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo regarding Russia’s withdrawal from the initiative.
“The countries that would be impacted by that [Black Sea Grain Initiative] often are very poor countries who have no link to what is happening in Europe," the Belgian PM told Kurdistan 24.
The markets responded to the news of Russia’s withdrawal from the agreement with a 3% increase to the price of wheat on Monday, and the price of the commodity is expected to further rise. Both Russia and Ukraine are major wheat exporters to the Middle East.
Under the initiative, the price of wheat had previously been reduced by 35% after it had reached a historic high of $444 per metric ton on May 16, 2022.