UN committee recommends to Lithuania to review decision on Belarusian fertilizer transit

  • 2023-03-28
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – A UN committee has urged Lithuania to review the decision to ban the transit of Belarusian fertilizers, arguing that it leads to a shortage of fertilizers in Africa and Latin America. 

"The Committee remains concerned by recent measures taken by the State party that has prevented transportation of potash from Belarus destined for third countries in Africa and Latin America resulting in shortage of fertilizers and negatively impacting food security in those countries," the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) said in its report published early this month.

"The Committee recommends the State party to review these recent measures that impact the price of fertilizers and food security in third countries," the document reads.

The transit of Belarusian fertilizers vie Lithuania was stopped in February, 2022, citing international sanctions and risks to national security as the reason.

Belaruskali products made up the bulk of Belarusian fertilizer exports and were shipped abroad by rail through Lithuania and then via its seaport of Klaipeda. 

The existing EU sanctions on Belarusian fertilizers were imposed in several rounds before Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

In January, however, the European Commission started consultations on amending the existing sanctions against Belarus to include an exemption for fertilizers, sources have told BNS.

Last week, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres attend a European Council meeting in Brussels, which led Lithuanian officials to be concerned that the fertilizer issue might heat up.

The UN says Belarusian fertilizer exports have fallen sharply due to shipping problems, which has led to a sharp rise in food prices in less developed countries.

Speaking after the EU summit, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said the issue was not raised at the meeting.

The UN committee's report in question was published in early March before the UN secretary general's visit to Brussels.