A farmer harvests his wheat, on July 7, 2022, near Kramatorsk, in the region of Donetsk.
The negotiations held in Istanbul between Ukraine and Russia on the release of grain blocked on Ukrainian soil and to facilitate the export of Russian grain and fertilizers are a “ray of hope “, said Wednesday the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres.
In a statement to media, the UN chief, speaking of truly substantial progress, hoped that a formal agreement could be reached soon. We are not there yet, he added, referring, without detail, to the need for further technical work.
“Today in Istanbul we saw a momentous milestone, a step forward in ensuring the safe and secure export of Ukrainian food products across the Black Sea. We have a glimmer of hope for alleviating human suffering and alleviating world hunger.
—Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations
This is a beacon of hope to support developing countries and the most vulnerable people, a beacon of hope to bring some much-needed stability to the global food system, continued Mr. Guterres.
The UN chief said both sides had shown Istanbul a lot of goodwill and commitment, and said he was ready to cut short his upcoming vacation to visit Turkey in order to to finalize an agreement.
Ankara has confirmed that Russia and Ukraine have made enough progress to have further talks on the subject next week.
“It has been agreed that the delegations from Russia and Ukraine will meet again in Turkey next week.
—Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar
Mr. Akar pointed out that the delegations made up of defense experts from the two belligerent countries had agreed on common controls in the ports and on the means to guarantee the security of the ways of transfer of the goods through. the Black Sea.
According to the minister, a final agreement on the release of around 20-25 million tonnes of grain currently tied up in Ukrainian ports could be announced this week next.
During this meeting, which we will have next week, all the details will be reviewed once more and [a document on] the work we have done will be signed, Mr. Akar further said.
The agreement negotiated by Mr. Guterres and two of his deputies for more than two months aims to bring out through the Black Sea some 20 million tonnes of grain piled up in Ukrainian silos, notably in Odessa ( south) and to make it easier for Russia to export grain and fertilizers.
Moscow has claimed that the sanctions taken by the European Union (EU) and the United States in particular are preventing its exports, which the EU and Washington have denied by assuring that their measures did not target food.
De facto, the sanctions have indirect consequences in terms of bank payments, insurance and logistics.
Ukraine is one of the world's leading exporters of wheat and other grains.
Statements by UN chief and minister Turkish Defense came after a meeting in Istanbul between delegations from Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the UN. It was the first face-to-face meeting between Ukrainians and Russians since the end of March.
Diplomats say the evacuation of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea is would do via secure corridors.
A ceasefire for the areas used should be observed, while commercial vessels would be inspected by Turkey with the assistance of the UN in order to assure Russia that they are not carrying weapons.
Demining would not be essential, according to the same sources, who mention the existence of unmined lanes in any military device aimed at protecting coasts against the risk of a landing of enemy troops.