The high-stakes meeting in Istanbul on Wednesday, involving Ukraine, Russia and the United Nations, is aimed at resuming Ukrainian grain exports blocked by Russia.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, describing the progress between Russia and Ukraine after the meeting, said that the talks on allowing grain exports have provided “a ray of hope to ease human suffering and alleviate hunger worldwide.” “A ray of hope to support developing countries and the most vulnerable people. A ray of hope to bring a measure of much-needed stability to the global food system.”
.@antonioguterres tells reporters: Today in Istanbul, we have seen a critical step forward to ensuring the safe and secure export of Ukrainian food products through the Black Sea.
In a world darkened by global crises, today, at last, we have a ray of hope. pic.twitter.com/0rUohVZxUc
— UN Spokesperson (@UN_Spokesperson) July 13, 2022
Turkey plays an important role
The NATO member nation has been trying to work out an agreement on a safe way to deliver Ukrainian grain. It has achieved this by leveraging its positive relations with the Kremlin and with Kyiv.
As outlined by the Turkish Defense Minister on Wednesday, the agreement will be signed when the concerned parties meet next and will include joint controls for checking grains in ports.
The defense minister said in a statement that “at this meeting, which we will hold next week, all the details will be reviewed once again and the work we have done will be signed off.”
Furthermore, Turkey would ensure the safety of the Black Sea export routes for Ukrainian grain and would also set up coordination among Ukraine, Russia and the United Nations for grain exports, the defense minister, Hulusi Akar, said.
What makes this agreement of the utmost importance in the current geopolitical scenario?
A significant proportion of grain imported by the developing countries comes from Ukraine. However, after the invasion, Ukraine’s Black Sea ports have been blocked by Russia, including the crucial hub of Odesa.
As a result, as experts point out, a prolonged reduction or restriction on food exports could exert additional pressure on international food prices, with detrimental consequences for economically vulnerable countries.
As the UN chief said, “since the war started, I have been underlining the importance of having Ukraine’s food products and Russian food and fertilizers fully available in the world markets.”