The United Nations Coordinator of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Amir Abdullah, announced on Tuesday that Turkey strongly supports the extension of the Istanbul Agreement to export Ukrainian grain.
This came in a joint press conference held by Abdullah and the Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Rebecca Greenspan via closed-circuit television with journalists at the headquarters of the International Organization in New York.
“Turkey has played a huge (mediating) role in facilitating and supporting Ukrainian grain exports to world markets,” Abdullah said.
On July 22, under the auspices of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the “Document on the Initiative for the Safe Shipping of Grains and Foodstuffs from Ukrainian Ports” was signed between Turkey, Russia, Ukraine and the United Nations in Istanbul.
The duration of the agreement is 120 days and includes securing exports of grain suspended in the Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea (Eastern Europe) abroad, in light of a military attack launched by Russia in its neighbor Ukraine since February 24.
Abdullah added, “We received very strong messages from the Turkish side regarding their support for extending the agreement on safe shipment of grain and foodstuffs from Ukrainian ports.”
He explained, “Discussions are continuing in this regard, and Turkey has assured us of the need for the safe shipping initiative not to stop after the expiry of its 120 days, and for our part at the United Nations we are continuing to work to achieve this end.”
He stated that “large quantities of Ukrainian grain that arrived in Turkey was ground, packed and transported to countries such as Egypt, Sudan and Yemen.”
And he added, “Until today, ships loaded with Ukrainian grain have arrived in 30 countries, whether they are low-income or high-income countries.”
While Greenspan acknowledged during the press conference, “there are outstanding issues such as securing and financing the export operations of Russian fertilizers… and negotiations are currently underway in order to find a solution to these issues.”
She added, “The Secretary-General of the United Nations has repeatedly stressed that there is no solution to the food crisis that the world is currently witnessing except by allowing the export of fertilizers and grains from Russia and Ukraine, and we are working to achieve this goal.”
She added, “Fertilizers are a very important part of the safe shipping initiative. As long as we do not find a solution to the fertilizer export crisis, we will face a catastrophic crisis. There are negotiations currently taking place to address the situation, but I cannot provide you with information about it.”
And it reported that there are “issues related to financing the operations of Russian exports of fertilizers, and other issues related to the insurance and financing of these exports, and the search for the private sector willing to participate.”
And she added, “We are currently contacting several parties to find a solution to such issues… and we still have to do more in this regard.”