Ukraine grain deal ‘lays foundation for permanent peace environment’, Turkey says


Some 27 ships loaded with grain left Ukrainian Black Sea ports since August 1 under a United Nations-brokered export deal with Turkey, which laid “the foundations for a permanent environment of peace”, Turkey’s defense minister said in a speech on Saturday. .

“Since August 1, a total of 53 vessels have sailed for grain shipments, of which 27 have left Ukrainian ports,” Hulusi Akar told the Joint Coordination Center (JCC) in Istanbul alongside the UN Secretary General. United, Antonio Guterres.

The center is made up of Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish and UN officials who oversee Ukrainian grain and fertilizer exports to the Black Sea.

António Guterres, who previously inspected the SSI Invincible II ship on Saturday before it sailed to the Ukrainian port of Chornomorsk, said more than 650,000 tonnes of grain and other foodstuffs “are already on their way to the markets around the world”.

The two men underlined the importance of these exports as it would help overcome “the food crisis that is affecting the whole world, especially the drop in prices”, Akar said.

Russia and Ukraine are also important suppliers key components fertilizers: urea, potash and phosphate. “Without fertilizer in 2022, there may not be enough food in 2023. Getting more food and fertilizer from Ukraine and Russia is key to further calm commodity markets and lower prices for consumers,” Guterres said.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar (right) and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres (left) held a joint press conference on Saturday.

“We are at the beginning of a much longer process, but you have already shown the potential of this critical agreement for the world,” added António Guterres.

The groundbreaking agreement, brokered by the UN and Turkey, and signed by representatives of Russia and Ukraine in July, promised to unblock Black Sea ports to allow the safe passage of grain and oilseeds, following the routes identified by Ukrainian maritime pilots to avoid mines. , and with stops in Istanbul to ensure that weapons are not smuggled back into the country.

The deal follows months of diplomacy and raised hopes around the world after Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports pushed grain prices to record highs this year, when more than 20 million metric tons of Ukrainian wheat and corn remained stuck in Odessa.

After meeting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the western city of Lviv on Thursday, Guterres said there were signs global food markets were beginning to stabilize as a result of the deal.

Later, he called on developed countries to help developing countries buy grain. “The grain movement doesn’t mean much to countries that can’t afford it,” António Guterres said Friday in Odessa.

“It is time for massive and generous support so that developing countries can buy food from this port and others – and people can buy it. Developing countries must have access to finance – now. They need debt relief – now. They need resources to invest in their staff – now,” he added.

World hunger has massively increased, from 135 million people in acute food insecurity in 2019 to 345 million in 2022, according to the World Food Program (WFP). It includes “50 million people in 45 countries who are knocking on the door of starvation,” WFP executive director David Beasley told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on July 20, as he called from other donor countries, such as the Gulf countries, to intervene. “avoid disaster”.

The current crisis is far worse than previous food price spikes of 2007-2008 and 2010-2012, both of which fueled riots around the world, including revolutions in the Middle East.

Food security experts have warned of a huge geopolitical risk if no action is taken. This year has already been marked by political destabilization in “Sri Lanka, Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso, riots and demonstrations in Kenya, Peru, Pakistan, Indonesia… these are just signs that the things going forward are going to get worse,” Beasley said.

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