Food Crisis: Russia, Ukraine Seal Grain Agreement In Istanbul

Food Crisis Russia, Ukraine Seal Grain Agreement In Istanbul
Diplomats of both countries during the signing of the deal
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Kyiv and Moscow yesterday signed a historic agreement with Turkey and the UN to open Ukraine’s Black Sea grain exports after a Russian embargo stoked concerns of a food crisis on a global scale.

Following numerous rounds of painstaking discussions, Russian and Ukrainian teams signed individual agreements with Ankara and the UN as their first significant accord following nearly five months of combat.

Ukraine declined to sign the same documents as Moscow because it had warned before the signing that any Russian “provocations” around its ringed Black Sea ports would be greeted with a fast military reaction.

‘Today, there is a beacon on the Black Sea — a beacon of hope, a beacon of possibility, a beacon of relief,’ UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at the signing ceremony in the lavish Dolmabahce Palace on the Bosphorus Strait.

The deal agreed through UN and Turkish mediation establishes safe corridors along which Ukrainian ships can come in and out of three designated Black Sea ports in and around Odessa.

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And both sides also pledged not to attack ships on the way in or out.

“It will bring relief for developing countries on the edge of bankruptcy and the most vulnerable people on the edge of famine,” Guterres said.

Africa Daily News, New York reports that the five-month war, which has displaced millions and left thousands dead, is being fought across one of Europe’s most fertile regions by two of the world’s biggest grain producers.

Up to 25 million tonnes of wheat and other grain have been blocked in Ukrainian ports by Russian warships and landmines Kyiv has laid to avert a feared amphibious assault.

“Today’s Istanbul agreement is a step in the right direction. We call for its swift implementation,” tweeted the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — a key player in the negotiations who has good relations with both Moscow and Kyiv — said he hoped the deal would “hopefully revive the path to peace”.

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss congratulated Turkey and UN for brokering the deal but cautioned “we will be watching to ensure Russia’s actions match its words”.

Earlier, Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhaylo Podolyak explained the two sides would sign “mirror” agreements.

He warned that Russian breaches of the deal and incursions around Ukraine’s ports would be met with “an immediate military response”.

Diplomats expect grain to start fully flowing for the first time since Russia’s invasion of its Western-backed neighbour by the middle of August.

Africa Daily News, New York

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