G-7 ministers to meet next week with focus on food crisis

TOKYO

The Group of Seven major developed nations are arranging a ministerial meeting in Germany late next week to discuss food shortages in regions such as Africa highly reliant on Ukrainian grain imports, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, diplomatic sources said Thursday.

The envisaged meeting will lay the groundwork for a three-day G-7 summit to be held from June 26 in Schloss Elmau in southern Germany, where the food crisis is also expected to be on the agenda, according to the sources.

Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi is considering attending the talks online and expected to explain the Japanese government’s supportive efforts to address food shortages through entities such as the U.N. World Food Program, the sources said.

Hayashi will also call for avoidance of unjustified export restrictions and excessive food stockpiles and seek to assist developing nations in improving their agricultural productivity, according to the sources.

The ministers are expected to condemn Moscow for triggering the global food crisis due to its invasion and also discuss how to address pressing issues such as securing overland transportation of Ukrainian grain, the sources said.

With the Russian military attacks on Ukraine since late February showing no signs of abating, fears of food shortages have been growing especially in Africa and the Middle East, both regions being highly dependent on wheat imports from Ukraine.

The shortages, mainly stemming from Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian grain exports via Black Sea ports, have also been pushing up global food prices, raising concerns over food shortages and political instability.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied carrying out such a blockade.

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