Jokowi: Putin to provide secure food, fertilizer supplies from Russia, Ukraine

BenarNews staff
2022.06.30
Jakarta
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Jokowi: Putin to provide secure food, fertilizer supplies from Russia, Ukraine Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo at the Kremlin in Moscow, June 30, 2022.
Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik via Reuters

Updated at 3:38 p.m. ET on 2022-07-01

Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Thursday said Russian leader Vladimir Putin had assured him he would provide secure food and fertilizer supplies from his country and Ukraine, to avert a global food crisis following Moscow’s invasion of the neighboring country.

Jokowi, who met Putin in Moscow, also passed along a message from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, as he completed a round of shuttle diplomacy between Kyiv and Moscow and the first trip by an Asian leader to the war zone.

Jokowi, the current G20 chairman, had met with Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Wednesday as part of his self-declared peace mission to end the hostilities between the two neighbors, which are among the world’s breadbaskets.

“I have conveyed President Zelenskyy’s message to President Putin and I conveyed my readiness to be a communication bridge between the two leaders,” the Indonesian leader said in a statement after talks with Putin.

Jokowi, who had said his trip was also aimed at averting a food crisis, expressed his appreciation for Putin’s reassurance on food and fertilizer.

“I really appreciate President Putin who said earlier that he would provide security guarantees for food and fertilizer supplies both from Russia and from Ukraine. This is good news then for the sake of humanity,” Jokowi said.

“I also support the efforts of the United Nations for the reintegration of Russian food and fertilizer commodities and Ukrainian food commodities to enter the world supply chain. And specifically for the export route for Ukrainian food products, especially through the sea route, President Putin has already given his guarantee.”

‘Spirit of multilateralism’

Meanwhile, Putin reportedly said during the meeting with Jokowi that Russia has no restrictions on fertilizer and food exports, according to Russian state news agency TASS.

“I would like to note at once that we have no restrictions for fertilizer export. Early last year, we thought about supporting our own agriculture at first, but volumes of fertilizer production in Russia are such at present that we have no restrictions for supplies of these products to the international market. The same pertains to foods,” Putin said, according to TASS.

The ongoing food problems in the world, he said, are due to Western sanctions on Russian ports. The United States and other nations have slapped punishing sanctions on Russia in response to its four-month-old invasion of Ukraine.

But since Russia invaded Ukraine, it has blocked all of the latter’s Black Sea ports and cut off access to almost all of Ukraine's exports, especially of grain, sparking real fears of a global food crisis.

In its April report, the Global Crisis Response Group, set up by the United Nations secretary general, said Ukraine and Russia provide 30 percent of the world’s wheat and barley, a fifth of its maize and more than half of its sunflower oil. Russia is the world’s largest natural gas exporter and second largest oil exporter.

Jokowi, this year’s rotating leader of the G20 group of major economies, is in a bind because Russia and its supporter China are members of the group, along with Western heavyweights such as the United States, France, Germany, Canada, and their Pacific allies such as Japan and Australia.

In March, Indonesia voted for a U.N. General Assembly resolution condemning Russia’s military strike on Ukraine. Despite that vote, Indonesian government leaders have not criticized Russia directly.

The United States has urged Indonesia to disinvite member-state Russia from the G20 summit, scheduled for November in Bali, but Jakarta so far has refused.

In Germany, where Jokowi attended the G7 summit of industrial nations as a guest, he reportedly said that Putin would not attend the G20 summit in person. But the Kremlin said Thursday that Russia has an invitation and will decide later whether Putin attends.

In March, U.S. President Joe Biden said Ukraine should be able to participate in the G20 summit if Russia was not expelled. Indonesia has since invited Zelenskyy to the summit as a guest.

In Moscow on Thursday, Jokowi sought to dispel any notions that he was visiting with ulterior motives.

“Indonesia does not have any interest except that it wants to see that war can soon be ended, the supply chain of food, fertilizer and energy can be repaired immediately, because this involves the lives of hundreds of millions of people and even billions of people,” he said.

“The Indonesian constitution mandates that Indonesia always try to contribute to the creation of world peace. It was in this context that I made visits to Kyiv and Moscow.”

He said that he emphasized to Putin that food and fertilizer were humanitarian issues and a disruption in their supply would hit developing countries hard.

“… as I said in Kyiv, although the current situation is still very difficult, but it is important to continue to put forward a peace settlement and also that dialogue can be maintained,” he said.

“I invite all world leaders to work together to revive the spirit of multilateralism and the spirit of cooperation.”

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