The secretary-general of the United Nations highlighted the importance of access to Russian fertilizers and cooperation with Türkiye in this regard amid an ongoing fertilizer market crunch.

Antonio Guterres spoke with Anadolu Agency (AA) ahead of the high-profile U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) beginning on Sept. 20 at U.N. headquarters in New York.

Antonio Guterres

“We are doing everything and working with the U.S., working with the EU, working with other partners to make sure that what has been said time and time again, that sanctions do not apply to food and fertilizers, translates itself into reality, and we badly need the Russian fertilizers in a moment in which we are seeing a fertilizer market crunch,” he said.

He noted that farmers across the world have not been able to sow or plant their lands due to a lack of fertilizers.

“We are involved in a negotiation aiming at the export of Russian ammonia through Ukraine and in our conversations with our Russian counterparts,” Guterres said, adding that cooperation with Türkiye is always extremely important.

“The Black Sea Grain Initiative was possible thanks to the mediation of the U.N. Secretariat and Türkiye, President (Recep Tayyip) Erdoğan and myself are personally engaged in making sure that it goes on, that it has prolonged in time … and we are at the present moment discussing the possibility of exports of Russian ammonia through the same channels by a pipeline that crosses Ukraine. So we have been working hard together, Türkiye and the U.N., to minimize the impact of the war in Ukraine,” he said.

He spoke about geopolitical divides involving the biggest powers – China, the U.S. and Russia – climate change, the Russia-Ukraine war, Türkiye’s mediation efforts and U.N. Security Council reforms.

Noting that his main message to world leaders ahead of the 77th session of the UNGA is to bridge geopolitical divides, the U.N. chief said the biggest such examples involve the U.S., China and Russia, which “paralyze” solutions to ongoing problems.

“Climate change is devastating countries. I just came from Pakistan. You can’t imagine what it is to see a flooded area that’s three times as big as my own country, Portugal, and the suffering associated with it,” he said.

Guterres continued by saying that the repercussions of conflicts impact the rest of the world.

He noted that the prospect of a cease-fire in Ukraine was slim in the near future.

“I think it will take some time. I hope not eternally like other crises sometimes seem to be. But I think it will take some time for the parties to come to a moment in which they understand the need for a cease-fire and they understand the need for peace to be established based on the U.N. Charter and international law,” he said.

The U.N. chief noted that the U.N. Secretariat and Türkiye have been solid partners in addressing some of the dramatic consequences of the Ukraine war.

He continued by saying that he spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday and Erdoğan will meet him in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on Thursday and Friday.

Guterres highlighted that both Erdoğan and himself share the same views and will have a similar message:

“The interest of Türkiye and the interest of the U.N. is peace,” he said.

Regarding the grain deal, Guterres said the first problem that needs to be solved involves access to Russian food and fertilizers.


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