West News Wire: Italian Deputy Prime Minister Antonio Tajani said in an interview published on Monday that the probable failure of the grain deal reached by the UN and Turkey to open up Ukrainian agricultural exports across the Black Sea could result in a new wave of migrants trying to reach Europe.
When asked what might happen if the historic agreement failed, Tajani told the Italian newspaper il Messaggero that it was “a scenario that we do not want to consider.”
“Millions of people living in poverty face danger to their life. A crisis would develop in central and sub-Saharan African nations, and this, coupled with the turmoil in Sudan, runs the risk of igniting a highly hazardous migration spiral, the expert warned.
Should the grain deal be allowed to lapse, this would cause a food crisis in vulnerable countries, prompting a new migration flow, the deputy premier predicted, adding that Italy has made several steps to prevent such an outcome.
Tajani said that he himself had reiterated to the UN that the agreement “must remain alive,” while Rome made it clear to Ukrainian President Zelensky that sustaining the grain deal was one of its priorities.
“We trust in the independent mediation of Turkey” on the issue, he added.
The grain agreement, which was initially signed in July 2022, permits Ukraine to ship agricultural goods over the Black Sea in exchange for unrestricted access to international markets for Russian grain and fertilisers.
While the agreement’s provision allowing for Ukrainian grain exports is being put into effect, Russian authorities have repeatedly complained that Western sanctions are preventing the shipment of Russian agricultural products.
Despite these problems, Russia decided to extend the agreement in March for a further 60 days, extending the deadline May 18. Sergey Vershinin, the deputy foreign minister of Russia, recently issued a warning that the deal could expire if the UN did not permit the sale of Russian food and fertilisers as the deadline drew near.
On Monday, Ukrainian Acting Minister of Agrarian Policy Olga Trofimtseva admitted Kiev cannot rule out the prospect of the deal ending on May 18, adding that no additional talks have been planned for this week.