Ukrainian cereals: signature in Istanbul of a hard-negotiated agreement | War in Ukraine

Ukrainian cereals: Hard-negotiated agreement signed in Istanbul | War in Ukraine

The agreement would initially be validated for four months, the time to get out some 25 million tonnes of grain blocked in Ukraine.

Russia and Ukraine have finally signed the agreement on the export of Ukrainian grain.

The outcome still seemed uncertain mid-week, but Ukraine and Russia finally agreed on the conditions for exporting Ukrainian grain to the Black Sea, in association with Turkey and the United Nations.

It is due to be signed on Friday at 1:30 p.m. in Istanbul, at the former Sultans' Palace in Dolmabahçe, in the presence of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Turkish and Russian Ministers of Defense and the Minister in charge of Infrastructure for Ukraine.

This agreement, fiercely negotiated since April with kyiv and Moscow and encouraged by Mr. Guterres, who arrived urgently in Istanbul on Thursday evening, should make it possible to relieve the world markets, the two belligerents alone weighing 30% of the world wheat trade.

At the end of this agreement, the content of which has not been officially disclosed, secure corridors will allow the traffic of merchant ships in the Black Sea, including Moscow and kyiv. x27; undertake to respect strict neutrality.

kyiv estimates that its exports could start from three ports – Odessa, Pivdenny and Chornomorsk – and hopes to expand their number.

The agreement would initially be validated for four months, the time to remove the approximately 25 million tonnes blocked in silos in Ukraine, and then automatically renewed.

Wheat storage silos in the Donetsk region, July 8, 2022

On the other hand, the negotiators gave up on clearing the Black Sea of ​​mines – mainly laid by kyiv to protect its coasts – lack of time. But the shipments will be escorted by Ukrainian ships until they leave territorial waters.

A control and coordination center must be established in Istanbul with representatives of all parties and the United Nations, which will also take care of the inspection of ships departing from and heading to Ukrainian ports.

These inspections should take place in one of the ports of Istanbul. But it has not been specified who will lead this complex operation to answer the concerns of Moscow, which wants to be sure that the cargo ships will not bring weapons to Ukraine before loading. wheat and other cereals in return.

A first session of negotiations between military experts from the three countries concerned and the UN took place on July 13 in Istanbul, from which a certain optimism had emerged. But it gave way to uncertainty after demands made earlier this week by Moscow following the Iran-Russia-Turkey tripartite summit in Tehran.

Russia has thus obtained the guarantee that Western sanctions will not apply, either directly or indirectly, to its own exports of agricultural products and fertilizers.

Even if Russian [agricultural] products are not affected by the sanctions, there are blockages concerning maritime transport, insurance and the banking system, the minister argued on Thursday Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu.

In addition, according to a diplomat in New York, the United States has offered guarantees that large tonnage ships will be provided to Russia to facilitate the export of its grain and fertilizers.

Due to sanctions, international logistics companies that own such buildings are reluctant to work for Russia.

The United States on Thursday welcomed the deal's conclusion and urged Moscow to implement it, warning that it is now holding Russia accountable for [ its] implementation.

Distrust remains in kyiv. The Ukrainian delegation will only support solutions that guarantee the security of the southern regions of Ukraine, a strong position of the Ukrainian armed forces in the Black Sea and the safe export of Ukrainian agricultural products, said the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Foreign Affairs.

An agreement could be signed, but it would be surprising if Moscow respected it: why would it? even wonders Friday morning the financial analyst Tim Ash, specialist in the region.

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