Bloc’s foreign policy chief says will write to all African foreign ministers to counter Russian ‘propaganda’.
The European Union’s top diplomat said on Monday he will write to all African foreign ministers to explain the cause of the global food crisis and counter Russian “propaganda.”
Speaking at a news conference following a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg, Josep Borrell said global food security has not been endangered by EU sanctions, but because Russia is blocking grain shipments from Black Sea ports and destroying crops.
“We are repeating, and we have to warn again about the risk of a great famine in the world, especially in Africa. And it is the war which is creating price increases and scarcity of energy and food,” he said.
The African Union has said that sanctions on Russia, in particular its exclusion from the international payment mechanism SWIFT, is preventing some member countries from buying food products.
“I want to insist that it is not the European sanctions which are creating this crisis. Our sanctions do not target food, do not target fertilizers,” Borrell said. “Anybody that wants to buy Russian food and fertilizers, they can do it – no obstacles. Economic actors have to know that these products from Russia are out of the scope of our sanctions, so they can operate, they can buy, they can transport, they can insure it.”
He argued that the problem comes from the Russian blockade of Ukrainian grain.
“Millions of tons of wheat are being blocked, and millions of people will not be able to eat this wheat,” the EU official said. “So, the war is going to have dramatic consequences for the world. We call on Russia to deblock the ports and let these products go.”
Moscow says that Western sanctions on its banking and shipping industries are to blame for the food shortages.