2 UN Photo: SecretaryUN Secretary General, António Guterres, has said that fighting near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southern Ukraine is disheartening and any damage to the plant would be suicide.
3 Guterres gave the warning on Thursday during a summit with Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky and Turkish leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Lviv, Ukraine.
4 Speaking at a press conference alongside Presidents in Lviv, he expressed gratitude for the opportunity to visit again during such a difficult period.
6 The war has inflicted innumerous deaths, massive destruction, displacement, and dramatic violations of human rights, he stated, adding that in line with the Charter and international law, “people need peace”.
7 The top UN official expressed his grave concern over the unfolding situation in and around Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia.
8 “Common sense must prevail to avoid any actions that might endanger the physical integrity, safety or security of the nuclear plant,” he said, adding that the facility must not be used as part of any military operation.
9 Guterres upheld the urgent need for an agreement to “reestablish Zaporizhhia as purely civilian infrastructure” and ensure the safety of the area.
10 After making an assessment, with the agreement of both Russia and Ukraine, the UN Secretariat has determined that it can support the organisation’s nuclear overseer, IAEA, in conducting a mission to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant from Kyiv.
The UN chief outlined that military equipment and personnel should be withdrawn from the plant, no other forces or equipment should be deployed there and the area must be demilitarised.
11 Commenting on the Black Sea Grain, he said the initiative reflected “a victory for diplomacy” for those caught in a cost-of-living crisis as well as for Ukraine’s hard-working farmers,
In spite of the fact that the Black Sea Grain Initiative was signed a few weeks ago, the UN chief reiterated that “there is no solution to the global food crisis without ensuring full global access to Ukraine’s food products and Russian food and fertilisers.
According to him, in less than one month, 21 ships had departed from Ukrainian ports and 15 vessels had left Istanbul for Ukraine to load up with grain and other food supplies.
13 “As we speak, more than 560,000 metric tonnes of grain and other food produced by Ukrainian farmers are making its way to markets around the world.
This, he said, included the first UN-chartered vessel carrying Ukrainian wheat to people suffering in the Horn of Africa from the worst drought in decades.
15 Meanwhile, signs have been emerging that global food markets are beginning to stabilize as wheat prices dropped by as much as eight per cent.
16 This followed the signing of the agreements and the FAO Food Price Index by nine per cent in July – the biggest decline since 2008.
Although most food commodities are currently trading at prices below pre-war levels, they are still very high.
“Let’s have no illusions – there is a long way to go before this will be translated into the daily life of people at their local bakery and in their markets,” he said.
As the Joint Coordination Center (JCC) continues to work professionally and in good faith to keep the food flowing, he appealed that those involved “overcome all obstacles in a spirit of compromise and permanently settle all difficulties”.
“Getting food and fertiliser out of Ukraine and Russia in larger quantities is crucial to further calm commodity markets and lower prices”, and essential to providing relief to the most vulnerable”.
The UN chief underscored the urgency of reversing the turmoil in the global fertiliser market, which is currently threatening next season’s crops – including a world-wide staple, rice.