July 18, 2023 – Ottawa, Canada – Global Affairs Canada
The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, today issued the following statement:
“Canada strongly condemns the decision of the Russian Federation to withdraw its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI) brokered by the United Nations and Türkiye as part of the Istanbul Agreements in July 2022. This reimposes a de facto blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, significantly affecting global food exports as well as security in the Black Sea.
“Canada calls on the Russian Federation to immediately renew its participation in the agreement to avoid any further shocks to global food systems already strained by its war of aggression against Ukraine.
“This is a grave escalation of the weaponization of hunger by the Russian Federation, which previously obstructed the operations of the BSGI. Since its implementation, the BSGI has relieved pressure on global food prices, preventing over 100 million people worldwide from falling into extreme poverty. The decision of the Russian Federation will lead to an increase of global food prices, impacting first and foremost emerging economies dependent on food imports.
“It also impedes the efforts of the World Food Programme, which sourced more than half of its total wheat supply from Ukraine in 2022, relieving hunger in hard-hit areas such as Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa and Yemen.
“Canada commends the efforts of the UN Secretary-General and Türkiye to facilitate negotiations with Russia in good faith. The Russian Federation continues to claim that their agricultural exports are impeded while exporting a record amount of grains this season.
“Canada will continue to work with its partners to mitigate the impacts of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine on global food systems through humanitarian food and nutrition assistance as well as longer-term agriculture and food systems development assistance.”