Press Release

UN Secretary-General's remarks at press encounter on the Black Sea Initiative

17 May 2023

New York, 17 May 2023 

Good afternoon, 

We have some positive and significant developments — confirmation by the Russian Federation to continue its participation in the Black Sea Initiative for another 60 days. 

I welcome this decision.  The continuation is good news for the world.  

Outstanding issues remain.   

But representatives of Russia, Ukraine, Türkiye and the United Nations will keep discussing them. 

I hope we will reach a comprehensive agreement to improve, expand and extend the Initiative – as I proposed in a recent letter to the Presidents of the three countries. 

I want to convey my appreciation to all those taking part in the negotiations in a spirit of constructive engagement. 

I once again express my gratitude to President Erdoğan and the Government of Türkiye for their efforts – working in permanent coordination with the United Nations. 

The importance of the Black Sea Initiative – and the parallel Memorandum of Understanding between the UN and the Russian Federation – is clear.  

These agreements matter for global food security.  Ukrainian and Russian products feed the world. 

Under the Black Sea Initiative, more than [30] million tons of food have been exported.   

Vital food supplies are reaching some of the world’s most vulnerable people and places – including 30,000 tons of wheat that just left Ukraine aboard a WFP-chartered ship to feed hungry people in Sudan.  

They matter because we are still in the throes of a record-breaking cost-of-living crisis.   

Over the last year, markets have stabilized, volatility has been reduced and we have seen global food prices fall by 20 per cent.  

And they matter because they demonstrate that, even in the darkest hours, there is always a beacon of hope and an opportunity to find solutions that benefit everyone.  

Looking ahead, we hope that exports of food and fertilizers, including ammonia, from the Russian Federation and Ukraine will be able to reach global supply chains safely and predictably – as foreseen in both the Black Sea Initiative and the Memorandum of Understanding on Russian food and fertilizer exports – the implementation of which the United Nations is fully committed to support. 

Thank you.   

Antonio Guterrs

António Guterres

Secretary General

UN entities involved in this initiative

United Nations

Goals we are supporting through this initiative