Ukraine’s grain exports are scheduled to resume. For the starving world population, this cannot happen any time soon

But for many countries in the Middle East and Africa that have long relied on the two countries for staple foods, grains cannot arrive soon enough.

Russia and Ukraine are the world’s largest wheat producers. The war in Ukraine sparked by the unprovoked Russian attack has been a major factor in driving up food prices by 17% since January, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), leaving large numbers of the population on the brink of starvation.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday that the agreement would spare billions from starvation.

“In the coming days, we will witness the beginning of the movement of ships, and many countries will breathe a breath of fresh air,” he said.

The conflict in Ukraine has significantly altered commodity trade, production and consumption in ways that will “keep prices at historically high levels until the end of 2024,” the World Bank estimated in its April 2022 Commodity Market Outlook. Both the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations warned The United Nations (FAO) and the World Food Program (WFP) report that acute food insecurity may worsen in dozens of countries between June and September 2022.
In the Middle East, Lebanon, Tunisia and Libya typically depended on Ukraine for about half of their imports, according to Food and Agriculture Organization data. And Egypt, one of the world’s largest food importers, in 2021 bought 80% of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine.
A large group of African countries that are already food insecure have experienced a ripple effect. For example, Eritrea got all of its wheat imports from Ukraine and Russia in 2021, according to a June 2022 FAO report. Somalia, the country at the mercy of four successive failed rainy seasons, has seen an increase in malnutrition cases and a doubling in wheat prices. at least.

Affected countries tried to take steps to mitigate the losses to their citizens. Authorities in Egypt said the government is paying $435 per ton of wheat, compared to $270 it paid last year. The North African country, which subsidizes bread for more than 70 million of its 103 million people, is looking to other sellers to secure its reserves, including India. Egypt limited bread prices in March.

Ukraine is also a major food supplier for United Nations aid programmes, which provide relief to war- and poverty-stricken countries in the Middle East and Africa.

The World Food Program has been calling for the reopening of Black Sea ports – including Odessa – for months, in order to get the urgent food needs of countries such as Ethiopia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen, warning that “millions are on the brink.”
The food program called 2022 “the year of unprecedented hunger”, identifying conflict – such as the war in Ukraine – as one of the biggest drivers of hunger, warning that the impact of inaction “will continue to be felt around the world for years until it comes.”

With the world holding its breath for the release of Ukrainian grain, wheat prices are starting to react to news of the deal.

Before the agreement was signed, wheat futures fell 2% on Friday, Reuters reported.

“The mere announcement has led to lower prices,” said Nader Nour El-Din, an expert at the FAO General Assembly and a former advisor to the Egyptian Ministry of Supply, adding that prices are expected to drop further if grain transfers resume, ultimately providing relief.

However, Noureddine said any significant drop in food prices would also depend on fuel costs, which have been on the rise since January and have risen sharply after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“Oil prices have a significant impact on grain prices and all food prices,” he said, adding that they are factors affecting harvesting, processing and transportation.


Turkey refuses to blame it for deadly bombing of Iraq

Turkey has denied responsibility for the bombing of a tourist resort in the Zakho area of ​​Dohuk in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq. The incident killed eight people and wounded 26 on Wednesday, according to Iraqi officials.

  • background: Iraq thought the attack was Turkish. Turkey rejected the accusation, saying it believed it was carried out by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which it considers a terrorist organisation. The Iraqi authorities, the US embassy in Iraq and the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq condemned the bombing.
  • why does it matterThe PKK seeks to establish an independent state in Turkey. The group has been in armed conflict with Ankara for decades, and has been designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. The Turkish military is carrying out attacks in northern Iraq that it says are targeting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Putin has a phone call with the Saudi Crown Prince, discusses the oil market “in detail” – the Kremlin

On Thursday, the Kremlin said, Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the oil market “in detail” during a telephone conversation with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a few days after US President Joe Biden’s visit to the Middle East.

  • background: The Russian and Saudi leaders focused on “current issues of bilateral cooperation” with a particular focus on expanding mutually beneficial trade and economic ties, according to a Kremlin reading. They also discussed the topic of oil, adding that “the importance of increasing coordination within the framework of OPEC Plus was highlighted.”
  • why does it matterPutin’s call with the crown prince comes days after Biden returned from Saudi Arabia with no guarantees of increased oil production. Saudi Arabia and Russia are members of OPEC+, which is working to regulate oil production after prices fell in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Abu Dhabi and Total Energy sign an agreement to explore gas growth in the UAE and diesel supplies to France

ADNOC said in a statement on Tuesday that the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and French energy group Total Energy signed an agreement to explore the growth of gas production projects and consider supplying France with diesel from the UAE.

  • background“Under the terms of the agreement, ADNOC and Total Energy will explore cooperation opportunities in areas of mutual interest including gas growth,” ADNOC said. France is seeking to reduce its dependence on Russian energy imports, and the United Arab Emirates is one of OPEC’s major crude oil producers and an investor in offshore gas exploration. TotalEnergies currently collaborates with ADNOC across the entire energy value chain, from offshore and onshore exploration, oil and gas development and production to gas processing and liquefaction, according to the official UAE news agency WAM.
  • why does it matter: While Russia resumed deliveries of natural gas along the Nord Stream 1 pipeline on Thursday, concerns about a complete halt to Russian gas have not gone away. Europe continues to see this as a possible scenario and has prepared contingency plans for the winter.

what do you want to watch

The Middle East has been the scene of crucial political meetings this week, as the world’s eyes turn to the trilateral meeting between Russian Presidents Putin and Erdogan, and Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, who hosted the meeting in Tehran.

CNN’s Becky Anderson spoke with Sanam Vakil, deputy director and senior researcher at think tank Chatham House, who described the Iran-Russia partnership as a “marriage of convenience.”

Watch the interview here:

time capsule

Some of the Egyptian military leaders who led the July 23 coup, including Gamal Abdel Nasser, pose for photos in Cairo, Egypt on July 31, 1952.

Saturday marks 70 years since the 1952 coup that toppled the British-allied monarchy in Egypt and declared an independent republic.

In the early hours of the morning of July 23, a group of Egyptian soldiers from the so-called Free Officers Movement overthrew King Farouk in a bloodless coup by the famous Arab nationalist Gamal Abdel Nasser.

As the dust of the coup faded, the king was forced to cede control to General Mohamed Naguib, who became the country’s first president.

In 1956, Nasser was elected president of Egypt, and he continued to rule for 16 years until he died of a heart attack while still in office in 1970.

Speaking of the coup, Nasser said the “revolution” was carried out by 90 soldiers who “believe in God and they will win.”

British protectorate status in Egypt officially ended in 1922, but the colonial presence remained heavily involved on the side of the Egyptian monarchy, and British forces left only in the mid-1950s.

Many Egyptians celebrate July 23 as “Revolution Day,” referring to Nasser as a national hero.

Since 1952, Egypt has been ruled by either a permanent or former member of the military, except for the short period between 2012 and 2013 when the late Islamist President Mohamed Morsi was elected. Morsi was overthrown in a 2013 military coup by former army chief and current president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

By Mohammed Abdelbary

today’s picture

Algerian Djamel Sedjati crosses the line to win the men's 800m semi-final at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon on July 21st.

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