Cereals: Ukrainian export coordination center opens in Istanbul

Cereals: Ukrainian export coordination center opens in Istanbul

The Joint Coordination Center (JCC), responsible for controlling Ukrainian grain exports via the Black Sea, was officially inaugurated in Istanbul on Wednesday, in accordance with the agreements signed on July 22.

The center, housed in a military academy, will be run by “five representatives from Russia, Ukraine and the UN, as well as Turkey, both military and civilian,” said the Turkish Minister of the Hulusi Akar Defense in a brief ceremony.

Under the agreements signed for four months between Russia and Ukraine, mediated by Turkey and under the aegis of the UN, the CCC will be responsible for conducting inspections of ships departing from and arriving at Istanbul to ensure they are not carrying anything but grain.

Some 25 million tons of cereals, in particular wheat, which have been blocked in Ukrainian ports by the Russian invasion since February 24, are sorely lacking on world markets.

According to Mr. Akar, the convoys will depart from the ports of Odessa, Chernomorsk and Yuzni. “Preparation and planning for the first departures continues,” he said.

These three Ukrainian ports have also “resumed work”, announced simultaneously the Ukrainian navy.

Stating that there would be “no military presence” around these convoys, Mr. Akar listed the various tasks incumbent on the CCC.

The CCC must register and track the merchant vessels that will participate in the convoys, monitor them via the internet and satellite, inspect the vessels “by joint inspection teams at the appropriate places” during loading in Ukrainian ports and upon arrival in Turkish ports.

If necessary, demining will be decided and organized “by the parties”. “However,” the minister added, “there is no need at this stage.”

“Those who will work here know that the eyes of the whole world are on them”, insisted the Turkish minister, hoping that the center “will best contribute to meeting humanitarian needs and collective peace”.

After a Russian strike on Odessa on Saturday morning, the day after the signing of the export agreement, Turkey said it was “worried”.

“The attack in Odessa worried everyone,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Wednesday morning.

“This is not the kind of attack to prevent the port from working. But it must not be repeated. We hope that the agreement will be able to work without problem”, he underlined.


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