The Ukrainian grain agreement signed in Istanbul - Economic Policy

The Ukrainian grain agreement signed in Istanbul – Economic Policy

Ukraine and Russia ended Friday by signing, with Turkey and the UN, the agreement on the export of Ukrainian cereals to the Black Sea, during an unprecedented ceremony between countries at war.

Kyiv and Moscow signed two identical but separate textsat the request of Ukraine, which refused to initial any document with Russia.

The four delegations met in the grounds of Dolmabahçe Palace, on the Bosphorus in Istanbul, in the presence of United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as well as Turkish and Russian Ministers of Defense and Ukrainian Minister of Infrastructure.

The ceremony took place under the flags of the protagonists, those of Russia and Ukraine carefully separated by the blue banners of the UN and the red of Turkey, which has offered itself as a mediator since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24.

This agreement, fiercely negotiated since April under the impetus of Mr. Guterres, who arrived urgently in Istanbul on Thursday evening, will relieve the countries dependent on the Russian and Ukrainian markets – 30% of world wheat trade between them.

The head of the UN thanked Russia and Ukraine who “overcame their differences to make way for an initiative at the service of all”. Now, the agreement “must be fully implemented“, he pleaded.

Mr. Erdogan acknowledged that it had “not been easy” to get there, and hoped that the signing of this agreement, which comes almost five months after the start of the conflict, would “strengthen the hope of end this war.

According to the World Food Program (WFP), 47 million more people are at risk of “acute hunger” since the start of the war.

“Unprecedented”

A few hours before the ceremony, Ukraine specified that it would not sign “no documents with Russia”, but only with Turkey and the UN. The Russians have initialed an identical agreement with these two parties.

Mr. Guterres, however, noted the “unprecedented” nature of this agreement concluded between two countries at war.

Under the terms of this agreement, “secure corridors” will allow the movement of merchant ships in the Black Sea, which “both parties have undertaken not to attack”, said a United Nations official who requested anonymity.

The negotiators have given up on clearing the Black Sea of ​​mines – mainly laid by the Ukrainians to protect their coasts: “Clearing mines would have taken too long”, justified the UN, which specified that “Ukrainian pilots” would clear the way for the cargo ships in territorial waters.

Ukraine suggested that its exports start from three ports – Odessa, Pivdenny and Chornomorsk – and hopes to be able to increase their number in the future.

The agreement will be valid for “120 days”, or four months, the time to get out the approximately 25 million tonnes piled up in silos in Ukraine as a new harvest approaches.

A joint coordination center (CCC) should be established this weekend in Istanbul with representatives of all parties and the United Nations.

Inspections of ships departing from and heading to Ukrainian ports will take place under the control of the CCC, in one of the ports of Istanbul, in order to meet the concerns of Moscow, which wants to have the guarantee that cargo ships will not bring weapons to Ukraine.

“Immediate response”

A first round of negotiations between military experts from the three countries concerned and the UN had taken place on 13 July in Istanbul, from which a certain optimism had emerged.

Then uncertainty prevailed after demands made by Moscow at the end of the Iran-Russia-Turkey tripartite summit on Tuesday in Tehran.

Russia finally got the guarantee that Western sanctions will not applyneither directly nor 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,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu explained on Thursday.

In addition, said a diplomat in New York, the United States has offered “guarantees” so that large tonnage ships will be supplied to Russia to facilitate the export of its cereals and fertilizers.

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

The United States had welcomed the agreement on Thursday and warned that they held “Russia responsible for (its) implementation”.

But mistrust remains in kyiv“No Russian escort and no Russian presence in our ports. In case of provocation, immediate military response”, tweeted Friday Mikhaïlo Podoliak, adviser to the Ukrainian presidency.

EU calls for ‘swift implementation’ of Istanbul grain deal

The European Union hailed Friday as “a step in the right direction” the agreement to unblock Ukrainian grain exports signed in Istanbul with Russia, and called for its “rapid implementation”.

“The Istanbul agreement is a step in the right direction. We call for its rapid implementation,” EU Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said on his Twitter account.

kyiv and Moscow signed two identical but separate texts, at the request of Ukraine, which refused to initial any document with Russia. presence of United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as well as the Turkish and Russian Ministers of Defense and the Ukrainian Minister of Infrastructure. The ceremony took place under the flags of the protagonists, those of Russia and of Ukraine carefully separated by the blue banners of the UN and red of Turkey, which has offered itself as a mediator since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24. This agreement, fiercely negotiated since April under the impetus of Mr. Guterres, who arrived urgently in Istanbul on Thursday evening, will relieve the countries dependent on the Russian and Ukrainian markets – 30% of the world trade in wheat between them. The UN boss thanked Russia and Ukraine who “knew bridged their differences to make way for an initiative at the service of all”. Now, the agreement “must be fully implemented”, he pleaded. Erdogan acknowledged that it had “not been easy” to get there, and hoped that the signing of this agreement, which comes almost five months after the start of the conflict, would “reinforce the hope of ending to this war”. According to the World Food Program (WFP), 47 million additional people have been exposed to “acute hunger” since the start of the war. A few hours before the ceremony, Ukraine specified that it would not would sign “no document with Russia”, but only with Turkey and the UN. The Russians have initialed an identical agreement with these two parties. Guterres, however, noted the “unprecedented” nature of this agreement between two countries at war. Under this agreement, “secure corridors” will allow the movement of merchant ships in the Black Sea, which “both parties have committed to not to attack,” said a UN official who requested anonymity. The negotiators gave up on clearing the Black Sea of ​​mines – mainly laid by the Ukrainians to protect their coasts: “Clearing mines would have taken too long,” said justified the UN, which specified that “Ukrainian pilots” would clear the way for cargo ships in territorial waters. Ukraine has suggested that its exports start from three ports – Odessa, Pivdenny and Chornomorsk – and hopes to be able to increase their number in the future. The agreement will be valid for “120 days”, or four months, the time to get out the approximately 25 million tonnes piled up in silos in Ukraine as a new harvest approaches. Joint Coordination (CCC) must be established this weekend in Istanbul with representatives of all parties and the United Nations. Inspections of ships departing from and heading to Ukrainian ports will take place under the control of the CCC, in one of the ports of Istanbul, in order to respond to the concerns of Moscow, which wants to have the guarantee that the cargo ships will not bring arms to Ukraine. A first round of negotiations between military experts from the three countries concerned and the UN had taken place on July 13 in Istanbul, from which a certain optimism had pierced. Then uncertainty had prevailed after demands formulated by Moscow at the end of the Iran-Russia-Turkey tripartite summit on Tuesday in Tehran. has finally obtained assurances 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, it there is blockages concerning maritime transport, insurance and the banking system”, explained Thursday the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mevlut Cavusoglu. In addition, indicated a diplomat in New York, the United States offered “guarantees” so that large tonnage ships are provided to Russia to facilitate the export of its grain and fertilizers. Due to the sanctions, international logistics companies that own such vessels are reluctant to work for Moscow. The United States had welcomed Thursday the agreement and warned that they held “Russia responsible for (its) implementation”. But suspicion remains in kyiv: “No Russian escort and no Russian presence in our ports. In case of provocation, immediate military response,” Mikhaïlo Podoliak, adviser to the Ukrainian presidency, tweeted on Friday.

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