Time to focus on ceasefire in Ukraine now: Turkish FM
It is now time to focus on mediating for a ceasefire in Ukraine after Kiev and Moscow agreed on the resumption of grain export to world markets, the Turkish top diplomat has said, urging all the third parties to lend support to the diplomatic efforts to this end.
“It’s now time to focus on a ceasefire in Ukraine,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said at a press conference with Georgian Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili in Istanbul on July 28. The two ministers discussed bilateral and regional issues as well as the ongoing war in Ukraine. Georgia’s provinces of Ossetia and Abkhazia are also under the occupation of Russia since 2008.
Recalling that Russia and Ukraine agreed on a grain deal crafted by Türkiye and the U.N., Çavuşoğlu said successful implementation of this plan will serve as a confidence-building measure between the two warring sides.
Çavuşoğlu referred to a plan prepared by Türkiye and the U.N. for the creation a mechanism that will pave the way for Russia and Ukraine to export their grain and other food products to the world markets in a bid to avoid global food crisis.
The Joint Coordination Center was inaugurated on July 27 by Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and with the participation of the representatives from Ukraine, Russia and the U.N. It was the first agreement the two sides agreed on since the war broke out on Feb. 24.
Çavuşoğlu underlined the need for the engagement of all the third parties in a bid to encourage Russia and Ukraine for ending the armed conflict, stressing “We would gladly host them in Türkiye if they would be ready [for peace talks]. But this cannot happen with only our efforts, the third parties should also lend support.”
“The war has no victor and the peace has no loser. Sooner or later, this war will end on a diplomacy table. We will continue to work for it,” Çavuşoğlu said.
He recalled that Türkiye has been trying to get Russia and Ukraine together to avoid the war before it started and to end the armed conflict after the war broke out on Feb. 24. “As you know negotiations happened in Istanbul for truce but the situation has later deteriorated for well-known reasons,” he added.
Grain deal should be successful
Explaining that Türkiye’s foreign, defense ministries, and the intelligence service have exerted great efforts upon the instructions of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who himself kept dialogue channels with the leaders of Ukraine and Russia open, to make the grain deal possible, Çavuşoğlu underlined the importance of successfully implementing it.
“Our wish is that it will be implemented without interruptions and thoroughly by shipping the grain and fertilizers to the countries which are in urgent need. Along with grain, the fertilizers are also very important for the agricultural activities,” he said.
The Joint Coordination Center will closely follow and command the process, Çavuşoğlu said, “This move is not limited to resolving problems stemming from lack of food. If implemented successfully, this will also constitute a good confidence-building measure between the two countries.”
It is expected that the fist ship from Ukraine will sail into the Black Sea in the coming days. The agreement also paves the way for Russia to export its grain and fertilizers to the world markets.