A ceremony for the simultaneous signing of two documents on maritime shipping of Ukrainian grain and the export of Russian agricultural products – Initiatives for the safe transportation of grain and food from the ports of Ukraine and Memorandum of Understanding between the Russian Federation and the UN Secretariat on assisting the promotion of Russian food and fertilisers to international markets, respectively – was held in Istanbul on 22 July 2022.
Initially, both documents were part of the UN Secretary-General’s “package” initiative, which President Putin supported. However, during the course of the talks, Kiev made several attempts to sabotage the bundled approach to the agreement proposed by Antonio Guterres. Interestingly, the negotiators from the UN Secretariat promoted a position that did not quite align with the Secretary-General’s original initiative.
Be that as it may, due to the Russian delegation’s efforts, it was possible to maintain the comprehensive and depoliticised nature of the “package” agreement, thereby ensuring the maximum possible effort to meet the developing countries that are food importers halfway.
Russia will honour its commitments in this regard. The fact that the United States and its allies are using food in the interests of their geopolitical adventures is unacceptable and inhumane.
The Memorandum of Understanding on Russian exports of agricultural products was signed by First Deputy Prime Minister Andrey Belousov and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The main goal is to ensure transparent and unhindered shipments of Russian food and fertilisers, including the raw materials for their production, to international markets. In particular, this issue is about removing the obstacles that the US and the EU have created in finance, insurance and logistics and exempting these particular products from the restrictive measures imposed on Russia. The memorandum will remain valid for three years.
Russia, Türkiye and Ukraine are the parties to the Ukrainian Grain Transport Initiative, with the United Nations acting in a support role. The goal is to promote safe shipping for grain, food and fertiliser exports, including ammonia, from the ports of Odessa, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny. The document provides a procedure for the passage of ships, their inspection, monitoring the functioning of the humanitarian corridor, the modality of demining and preventing dangerous incidents by the Istanbul-based special Joint Coordination Centre with representatives from Russia, Ukraine and Türkiye and with support from the UN. The initiative is to run for 120 days with an option to renew for a similar period upon agreement of the parties.
It is gratifying to know that Washington and Brussels have stopped obstructing the efforts to achieve today’s agreements. The signing of the Russia-UN memorandum reiterated the absolutely artificial nature of the West’s attempts to shift the blame for the problems in supplying grain to international markets on Russia.
We hope the necessary efforts will be made to effectively implement these agreements soon. The UN assistance that is provided in good faith and the constructive approach of the international community, including the Western countries, will be instrumental in this. Given the significant share of Russian and Ukrainian agricultural products in international markets, ensuring uninterrupted shipping meets the pressing objectives of maintaining food security, especially for the developing and least developed countries. All of that should contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including the eradication of hunger.
In closing, I would like to once again thank our Turkish partners, and personally President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for their contribution to today’s results.