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Ukraine war damaging global economy, hitting poor countries: UN Chief

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

UN: UN Chief Antonio Guterres warned Monday that Russia’s war on Ukraine is holding “a sword of Damocles” over the global economy, especially poor developing countries that face skyrocketing food, fuel and fertilizer prices and are now seeing their breadbasket “being bombed.”

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters that “Russia and Ukraine represent more than half of the world’s supply of sunflower oil and about 30 percent of the world’s wheat” and that “grain prices have already exceeded those at the start of the Arab Spring and the food riots of 2007-2008.”

He told reporters that 45 African and least developed countries import at least one-third of their wheat from Ukraine and Russia, and 18 of them import at least 50%. These countries include Egypt, Congo, Burkina Faso, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, he said.

“All of this is hitting the poorest the hardest and planting the seeds for political instability and unrest around the globe,” Guterres warned.

He warned that the UN’s global food prices index is at its highest level ever and that the world’s 45 least developed countries import at least one-third of their wheat from Ukraine or Russia.

They include Burkina Faso, Egypt, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

“We must do everything possible to avert a hurricane of hunger and a meltdown of the global food system,” Guterres implored, calling for an immediate end to hostilities.

The secretary-general was speaking on the sidelines of a briefing by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to the Security Council.


Wednesday, March 16, 2022 – 01:00

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