Commentary from Turkey on the status of the grain contract with Ukraine

According to the defence minister, about 30 boats have left Ukrainian ports this month.

According to a pact negotiated by Moscow and Kyiv and approved by the UN and Turkey, 27-grain tankers have left the Black Sea ports of Ukraine since the beginning of the month. The Turkish defence minister said this progress sets "the foundation for a permanent peace environment."

In a joint press conference with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in Istanbul, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar stated: "A total of 53 vessels have sailed for grain exports, 27 of which have left Ukrainian ports."

The centre, which was created as a result of the grain agreement in late July, is in charge of managing exports from Ukraine to foreign markets and preserving secure shipping lanes for imports across the Black Sea.

More than 650,000 metric tonnes of grain and other food products "are already on their way to markets around the world," Guterres said, calling the shipping operations "amazing and encouraging."

"Only yesterday, I was in the port of Odesa and witnessed firsthand the loading of a wheat shipment onto a ship. I was so affected as I watched the wheat fill the ship's hold, the man added. For a great number of people throughout the world, hope was being loaded.

Akar concurred with the secretary general's remarks, saying that unrestricted exports will assist ease "the food crisis impacting the whole world, especially [for] lowering costs."

Following the start of Russia's military incursion in the neighbouring state in late February, deliveries of wheat from Ukraine, a key producer, were halted. Each side accused the other of starting the crisis.

The agreement, which aims to ensure secure transit routes, was reached at UN-mediated discussions in Istanbul in late July to allow grain exports over the Black Sea. The agreement is also expected to enable Russia to export food and fertiliser to international markets.

However, the Kremlin stated earlier this week that "obstacles for the Russian grain [exports] persist," which hurts the food security of the rest of the globe, in response to a call between French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

By repeating that "both governments and the corporate sector must work to deliver" food and fertilisers to market, Guterres addressed this issue to some extent.

He cautioned that without fertiliser in 2022, there might not be enough food in 2023. "It is essential to remove additional food and fertiliser from Ukraine and Russia to further stabilise the commodity markets and reduce consumer costs."

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