Top Turkish, US diplomats discuss Ukrainian grain export process
The talk comes a day after the inspection of the first shipment of Ukrainian grain in Istanbul.
Blinken welcomed the departure of the first vessel carrying Ukrainian agricultural products from the Black Sea since Russia’s full-scale invasion.
“We again commend the United Nations and Türkiye for mediating the diplomacy that resulted in today’s significant step, which raises hope of bringing the millions of tons of grain stuck at Ukraine’s ports to those facing food insecurity around the world,” the U.S. Secretary of State said in a statement.
He called on Russia to continue implementation of the July 21 U.N.-brokered deal to bolster food security around the world and said Moscow must meet its commitments, including facilitating unimpeded exports of agricultural products from Black Sea ports.
“Russia must also end its attacks that are rendering farmlands in Ukraine unusable and destroying agricultural infrastructure. As long as Russia continues its aggression, the Ukrainian people and the world’s most vulnerable will continue to suffer its effects,” he added.
The Sierra Leone-flagged vessel Razoni set sail on Aug. 1 from Odesa of Ukraine and was anchored near the mouth of the Bosporus Straits late on Aug. 2. She was inspected by teams from Russia, Ukraine, the U.N. and Türkiye to ensure that incoming vessels are not carrying weapons and that outgoing ones are bearing only grain, fertilizer, or related food items, not any other commodities.
The Sierra Leone-flagged vessel sailed on to its final destination in Lebanon after the inspection on Aug. 3.
The Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) in Istanbul is responsible for monitoring the entire operation, including controlling the cargo of the ships to and from the Ukrainian ports. The deal signed between the parties on July 22 stipulates secure passage of the ships from the designated corridor. Türkiye and the U.N. are the guarantors of the operation. The deal aims to allow safe passage for grain shipments in and out of Chornomorsk, Odesa and the port of Pivdennyi.
Meanwhile, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar met with the Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Commander of the United States European Command, General Christopher Cavoli in Ankara on Aug. 3.