Ukraine and Russia signed in Istanbul on Friday an agreement on grain exports with Turkey and the UN, during an unprecedented ceremony between the warring nations. At the request of Ukraine, which refused to initiate any document with Russia, Kyiv and Moscow signed two similar but separate texts.
The four delegations met at the grounds of the Dolmabahce Palace on the Bosphorus in Istanbul, in the presence of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish and Russian Defense Ministers and the Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister. .
Mr. came to Istanbul in a hurry on Thursday evening. The deal, which has been fiercely negotiated since April under the inspiration of Guterres, will free the countries from dependence on the Russian and Ukrainian markets – which between them account for 30% of world wheat trade.
The UN boss thanked Russia and Ukraine for “setting aside their differences to pave the way for an initiative in the service of all”. He appealed for the agreement to be “fully implemented” now.
Mr. Erdogan acknowledged that getting there was “not easy” and hoped the signing of the deal, which comes nearly five months after the conflict began, “will strengthen confidence in ending this war.
Under the deal, “safe corridors” would allow the movement of merchant ships in the Black Sea, which “both sides have pledged not to attack,” a United Nations official said on condition of anonymity.
According to the World Food Program (WFP), 47 million people have suffered “severe starvation” since the start of the war.
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