Sat. May 18th, 2024

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will chair a high-level meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Thursday that will highlight global food insecurity and the conflicts that worsen it.

“We know this for sure: Where there is conflict, there is hunger,” U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told reporters at a news conference Tuesday to kick off Washington’s Security Council presidency this month.

She said Blinken will have “announcements and deliverables” on Thursday, and she urged nations to sign on to a draft communiqué Washington plans to issue on the subject.

Thomas-Greenfield, who has been the U.S. envoy at the United Nations since February 2021, said she will again use the rotating council presidency to push global food insecurity to the top of the council’s agenda. She has helmed the 15-nation council twice before on behalf of the United States, and both times focused on the issue.

The annual state of food security report released last month by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization found that the world is still recovering from economic setbacks from the COVID-19 pandemic and coping with the fallout of the war in Ukraine on food and energy markets.

The FAO estimates that 691 million to 783 million people in the world faced hunger in 2022, significantly higher than in 2019 before the pandemic. Much of that hunger was at the regional level, with Africa, the Caribbean, and Western Asia all seeing rising hunger levels.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned when Russia pulled out of the Black Sea Grain Initiative on July 17 that its decision would “strike a blow to people in need everywhere.”

Experts agreed, saying the deal’s collapse would negatively affect the prices of commodities such as wheat, corn, and soybeans, ultimately hurting poorer consumers.

The U.N. has so far been unsuccessful in getting Moscow to reverse its decision.

Thomas-Greenfield said Washington has seen indications that Russia might be interested in talks.

“What we have been told is that they are prepared to return to discussions,” she said. “We haven’t seen any evidence of that yet.”

She said if the Russians want to get their fertilizer to global markets and continue to have some access to international financial transactions, they will have to return to the deal.

Thomas-Greenfield said Washington would continue to highlight Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine during its August presidency. It plans a meeting to discuss the protection of civilians in Ukraine, including children, on August 24 — Ukraine’s independence day.

Russia’s deputy ambassador told reporters Tuesday that Moscow objected to the council scheduling any meetings on Ukraine this month. Thomas-Greenfield said that was “a little stunt” and would not stop the U.S. from conducting the council’s business.

Human rights

The U.S. envoy says human rights guide the Biden administration’s foreign policy and will also be a priority during the U.S. presidency in the form of invitations to civil society representatives and human rights organizations to brief the council on relevant topics.

Some council members have opposed the idea of bringing human rights issues into the council, saying there are other U.N. forums such as the Human Rights Council, where such issues should be discussed. Thomas-Greenfield disagrees.

“Human rights belong in the Security Council because human rights are about peace and security,” she said. “Places where human rights are being violated, we see situations of peace and security being destabilized.”


By Admin

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