Ukraine grain export deal off to ‘a very good start’

The United Nations

Under the Black Sea Initiative so far, 12 vessels have been “authorized to depart the Ukrainian ports,” the acting UN coordinator for the grain deal told UN journalists in New York on Wednesday.

Frederick J. Kenney Jr., interim Coordinator for the UN at the Joint Coordination Centre for the Black Sea Initiative, said at a regular UN press briefing via video link from Istanbul, Türkiye that the ships contain “over 370,000 metric tons of grain and other food stocks”.

“Those vessels had been stranded in the three ports covered by the initiative when the war started”.

The grain deal

The initiative specifically allows for significant volumes of commercial food exports from three key Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea – Odessa, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny.

During the agreement signing ceremony in Istanbul, Türkiye, on 22 July, Secretary-General António Guterres called the initiative “a beacon of hope” in a world that desperately needs it.

He also announced the establishment of the Joint Coordination Centre to monitor implementation that would be hosted in Istanbul and include representatives from Ukraine, Russia and Türkiye.

Authorized movement

Mr. Kenney said that the initiative had produced detailed procedures for participating vessels to follow, which had been “disseminated to the shipping industry earlier this week”.

“Our priority is to free up pier space in those ports so that the vessels come in and take new cargo,” he continued.

“We have also authorized the movement of four vessels into the Ukrainian park ports so far for loading”.

The UN interim Coordinator reminded that the agreement is scheduled to last for 120 days.

“We still have much work ahead of us to ensure that the implementation of the initiative translates into real results to address food insecurity around the globe and to stabilize global food markets,” he stated.

However, added Mr. Kenney, “we are off with a very good start”.

No discounts granted

UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric clarified a related question raised by a journalist yesterday on a possible discount afforded to Türkiye’s purchase of Ukrainian grain.

“We did much research, as much research as possible, and I can tell you that there was no discount built into the Black Sea Grain Initiative agreement that was signed in Istanbul,” he said.

“Furthermore, we are not aware of any other agreement that would guarantee such a discount”.

Click here to watch the press briefing in its entirety.

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