(MENAFN) In a significant display of global solidarity, Russia has delivered a substantial humanitarian aid package to Somalia in the form of 25,000 tons of wheat. The East African nation is set to receive the generous donation in the coming days, as confirmed by Somalia's news agency, SONNA.
The initiative is part of Russia's broader commitment to providing food assistance to African nations, a pledge announced by President Vladimir Putin during the Russia-Africa summit in St. Petersburg in July.
Russia's ambassador to Djibouti and Somalia, Mikhail Golovanov, personally arrived in Mogadishu ahead of the cargo ship to formally present the food aid to the Somali government. This gesture underscores the diplomatic significance of the humanitarian mission and reflects Russia's commitment to addressing food insecurity in the region.
The delivery follows Russian Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev's recent announcement that two shipments of free grain were en route to Burkina Faso and Somalia, with anticipated arrivals in both countries early next month. Patrushev further outlined a comprehensive plan, with additional shipments destined for Eritrea, Zimbabwe, Mali, and the Central African Republic scheduled to reach their destinations by year-end. The total commitment stands at an impressive 200,000 tons of grains to be distributed among the six African countries facing acute food insecurity.
The genesis of this humanitarian effort can be traced back to Moscow's decision not to renew the Black Sea Grain Initiative. Initially brokered by the United Nations and Turkey in July 2022, the initiative aimed to facilitate the export of Ukrainian grain to global markets, particularly to economically challenged nations. In return, Western sanctions restricting Russian agricultural exports would be lifted. However, Moscow withdrew from the agreement in July, citing ongoing difficulties in shipping food and fertilizer imposed by Western countries.
As Russia redirects its efforts toward aiding African nations, the delivery of free wheat to Somalia marks a pivotal moment in diplomatic relations and humanitarian cooperation. The tangible impact of this assistance is poised to alleviate the pressing issue of food insecurity in the region, setting a positive precedent for future collaborations between Russia and African nations in addressing shared challenges.
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