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Pope Urges Russian ‘Brothers’ To Restore Black Sea Grain Deal

The Joint Coordination Centre officials are seen onboard Sierra Leone-flagged cargo ship Razoni, carrying Ukrainian grain, during an inspection in the Black Sea off Kilyos, near Istanbul, Turkey August 3, 2022. Turkish Defence Ministry/Handout via REUTERS

Pope Urges Russian ‘Brothers’ To Restore Black Sea Grain Deal

Reuters
Total Views: 1619
July 30, 2023
Reuters

By Alvise Armellini

VATICAN CITY, July 30 (Reuters) – Pope Francis on Sunday called on Russia to reverse its decision to abandon the Black Sea grain deal, under which it had allowed Ukraine to export grain from its seaports despite the ongoing war.

“I appeal to my brothers, the authorities of the Russian Federation, so that the Black Sea initiative may be resumed and grain may be transported safely,” Francis said during his weekly Angelus message.

Global wheat prices have spiked since Russia on July 17 quit the pact, which was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey in July 2022, and began targeting Ukrainian ports and grain infrastructure on the Black Sea and Danube River.

Read Also: Heat, War and Export Bans: Global Food Threats Are On the Rise

Addressing crowds in St Peter’s Square, the pope urged the faithful to continue praying “for martyred Ukraine, where war is destroying everything, even grain,” calling this “a grave insult to God.”

The leader of the world’s nearly 1.4 billion Catholics said “the cry of millions of brothers and sisters who are suffering from hunger is rising up to the sky.”

Russia walked out of the Black Sea deal after saying its demands to ease sanctions on its own grain and fertilizer exports had not been met. Moscow also complained that not enough grain had reached poor countries.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin offered to supply Africa with grain, some of it for free, but the chair of the African Union, Azali Assoumani, responded that this “may be not quite enough.”

Since the conflict in Ukraine broke out last year, Francis has repeatedly condemned Russia’s war of aggression, but has also sought to keep an open channel of communication with Moscow, with limited results. 

In May, he tasked the head of the Italian bishops’ conference, Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, to act as a peace envoy. Zuppi has so far been to Kyiv, Moscow and Washington and is working on the repatriation of children from Russia and Russia-controlled areas to Ukraine.

(Reporting by Alvise Armellini, editing by Angus MacSwan and Susan Fenton)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023.

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