NEW YORK, NEW YORK, US — Abdullah Abdul Samad Dashti of Kuwait, a retired vice admiral, has been named United Nations coordinator for the Black Sea Grain Initiative by UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

The Initiative was launched by Ukraine, Turkey, Russia and the UN on July 22 to enable the resumption of exports from Ukraine of grain, foodstuffs and fertilizer, including ammonia, through a safe maritime humanitarian corridor on the Black Sea. Russia had blockaded Ukraine's ports since its Feb. 24 invasion.

Dashti succeeds Amir Mahmoud Abdulla of Sudan who had served as coordinator since August. Guterres said he was grateful for Abdulla’s leadership, hard work and commitment in implementing the initiative, which was renewed for 120 days in late November.

Dashti, who retired from the Kuwaiti armed forces in 2021, brings 40 years of experience in the areas of naval operations, leadership and management, both within Kuwait and multinational deployments. Since 1981, Dashti served in various capacities ranging from principal warfare officer, executive officer, training officer and liaison officer within the Kuwaiti armed forces, including regional and international deployments.

Dashti holds a master’s degree in international studies from King’s College, London, England. He attended the Naval Staff College of Newport, Rhode Island, US, and the Joint Staff College of Norfolk, Virginia, US, as well as the Royal College of Defence Studies in London. Dashti also holds a bachelor of science in education and teaching from the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia.