Monday, August 8

Turkey says deal to unblock Ukrainian grain export will be signed tomorrow

An agreement will be signed this Friday to unblock cereal exports blocked in Ukrainian ports, the Turkish presidency announced today in a statement. “The signing ceremony of the grain shipment agreement, in which the (Turkish) president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres, will be present, will take place tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. at the Dolmabahçe Office , with the participation of Ukraine and Russia”, they have indicated through a concise note.

The Turkish government’s announcement took place shortly after the UN reported that Guterres had interrupted his vacation to travel to Istanbul in the next few hours, where he was already last week to participate in the negotiations on the grains blocked by the war in Ukraine.

Guterres “is traveling to Istanbul as part of his efforts to ensure full global access to Ukrainian food and Russian food and fertilizer,” UN spokesman Farhan Haq said in New York.

Following last week’s “four-way meeting” with military representatives from Russia, Ukraine and Turkey, Guterres sounded cautiously optimistic, speaking of “a key step forward” and “a ray of light”.

On Monday, the Turkish Defense Minister, Hulisi Akar, considered a new meeting this week “likely”, but without giving signs that a definitive agreement was close to being sealed. He then pointed out that “the establishment of an operations center in Istanbul, the joint controls in the ports of departure and destination, and the guarantee of the safety of navigation in the transfer routes are the main technical issues” that were addressed in the ongoing diplomatic contacts.

According to Haq, along with Guterres, the Deputy Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, Martin Griffith, and the Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad), Rebeca Grynspan, are now traveling to Istanbul.

It is estimated that in Ukrainian ports there are currently more than 20 million tons of cereals and sunflower seeds that cannot reach the market as a result of the blockade of the Black Sea after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The lack of these grains in international markets threatens a food crisis and famine.

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