Mario Draghi has announced a meeting of the Mediterranean countries, in collaboration with the FAO, in Rome. The Italian prime minister also intends to promote an initiative to unblock the ports of southern Ukraine and allow the passage of ships that transport wheat. In his speech in Parliament on the war in Ukraine, he explained that: "The reduction in the supply of cereals and the increase in prices may have disastrous effects in some countries of Africa and the Middle East."
Food security is a priority for Italian foreign policy, in order to contain immigration flows and avoid political and social instability in vulnerable countries. “We must stop the global war against bread that is taking place in all parts of the world, with prices skyrocketing due to the war in Ukraine.”
This is the dramatic message that the Italian Government has launched, while proposing an international initiative.
The Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, has announced the organization for next June 8 in Rome a "Ministerial Dialogue with the Mediterranean countries in collaboration with the FAO, to outline intervention measures". In a speech to report on the situation of the war in Ukraine, in the Senate and in the Chamber of Deputies, Draghi stressed that the humanitarian crisis caused by the Russian invasion runs the risk of adding a food crisis: "The reduction in supply of cereals and the consequent increase in prices - Draghi explained - runs the risk of having disastrous effects, in particular for some countries in Africa and the Middle East - large importers of Ukrainian wheat -, where the danger of humanitarian, political and social crises It is growing".
The Italian Prime Minister has highlighted that the war in Ukraine threatens the food security of millions of people, also because it adds to the criticisms that emerged during the pandemic. The consequence is that the food price index increased during the year 2021 and reached an all-time high in March.
Russia and Ukraine are among the world's leading grain suppliers. Alone, they are responsible for more than 25% of world grain exports. “Twenty-six countries —Mario Draghi specified— depend on them for more than half of their needs. The devastation of the war has affected the production capacity of large areas of Ukraine. To this is added the blockade by the Russian army of millions of tons of grain in the Ukrainian ports of the Black and Azov seas».
Mario Draghi's basic message has been that action must be taken with the utmost urgency to prevent the conflict in Ukraine from causing a serious food crisis. On his recent trip to Washington, the Italian prime minister spoke with President Biden about the urgency of coordinated international action. "I asked President Biden - explained Draghi - for support for an initiative shared by all parties to allow the immediate release of the millions of tons of wheat blocked in the ports of southern Ukraine. In other words, ships carrying this grain must be allowed to pass, and if the ports have been, as they say, mined by the Ukrainian army, they must be demined for this purpose. All parties involved should now open a parenthesis of collaboration to avoid a humanitarian crisis that would lead to the death of millions and millions of people in the poorest part of the world, "concluded Draghi.
Food security is becoming a priority for Italian foreign policy, in order to contain the flows of immigration, especially from some African countries. This was highlighted by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luigi Di Maio, who promotes, at a UN meeting in New York on the food crisis, the dialogue initiative with all the Mediterranean countries, in collaboration with the FAO, announced today by Draghi for June 8. The Italian Minister Di Maio has explained why it is urgent "to stop this global bread war that is taking place in all parts of the world at the moment" at the root: "Food insecurity - Di Maio said - creates instability in countries vulnerable, especially those of the elongated Mediterranean, where conflicts or the proliferation of terrorist organizations can arise'.
At the New York ministerial meeting on the food crisis caused by Russia's war in Ukraine, the head of the UN World Food Programme, David Beasley, launched this appeal to President Putin: "If you have a heart, open these Ukrainian ports to feed the poor. It is critical that ports are open," Beasley reiterated.