Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
July 17, 2023
Good morning, and thank you for giving me this quick moment.
In a few minutes, the Security Council will meet to try and revive the Syria cross-border mechanism, and I’m sure you heard that just now from our UK colleagues.
But less than a week after shutting down this humanitarian lifeline, Russia has dealt another blow to the world’s most vulnerable. This time by suspending its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative. This is really another act of cruelty.
According to the World Food Program, more than 345 million people are suffering from high levels of food insecurity. And we know without a shadow of doubt, that Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine has pushed millions and millions more people to the brink, especially in the Middle East and Africa.
That’s what made the Black Sea Grain Initiative brokered by the UN and Türkiye such a beacon of hope. This arrangement has brought stability to the global food markets, and it’s lowered food prices for all. But today, Russia has thrown all this progress and all of this hope to the wind.
And while Russia plays political games, real people will suffer: the child in the Horn of Arica who is severely malnourished, the mother who will stop producing breast milk for her baby because she doesn’t have enough to eat herself.
These are the consequences of Russia’s actions. This is what it looks like when one country – one country – decides to hold humanity hostage. The bottom line is this: the world needs the Black Sea Grain Initiative. And all Member States must come together and urge Russia to reverse its decision; resume negotiations; extend, expand and fully implement this initiative.