Bilawal to lead Pak delegation at meeting on global food crisis

UNITED NATIONS, May 15 (APP): Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will arrive in New York on Tuesday to lead Pakistan’s delegation to a ministerial-level meeting on global food security aimed at responding to the escalating food prices across the world in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who convened the meeting at UN Headquarters in New York, will preside over the meeting with the foreign ministers on May 18 to “review the urgent humanitarian needs and identify steps to build resilience for the future”, according to diplomatic sources.

Since Russia’s February 24 military offensive, world wheat prices have increased by roughly 21 percent, barley by 33 percent, and some fertilizers by as much as 40 percent.

“This upcoming food security ministerial in New York is a prime opportunity to talk about the immediate solutions and long-term strategies which are really important,” one source said.

Because the world is facing the “most serious food crisis in over 70 years, the worst since World War II”, the US has called for two ‘Days of Action’ on the food crisis “to rally the world to take steps to bolster food supply chains and strengthen food resilience”, according to a State Department official.

The ministerial meeting will be followed by a UN Security Council debate on “Conflict and Food Security” the following day.

During his visit, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will also be meeting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the President of UN General Assembly, Abdullah Shahid, and will also hold some bilateral meetings with his counterparts. His programme is in the process of being finalized.