Monitoring center’s duty is to ensure safe sea transportation of grain, food products from Ukrainian ports: Turkish Defense Minister Akar
ANKARAA new joint coordination center in Istanbul established as part of a historic deal to restart Ukrainian grain exports to the world officially opened on Wednesday.
“The duty of the center is to provide safe sea transportation of grain and similar food products to be exported from Ukraine,” Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said at the opening ceremony, held at the National Defense University in Istanbul.
The center and the grain deal will make “significant contributions” to overcoming the food crisis impacting the entire world, and especially lowering prices, he added.
If left unaddressed, the grain problem could have caused security problems due to hunger and global irregular migration, he warned.
“The center consists of five representatives – both military and civilian – each from Türkiye, Russia, Ukraine and the UN. There will be no military element in the field,” he said.
Türkiye, the UN, Russia, and Ukraine last week signed a deal to reopen three Ukrainian ports for grain that had been stuck for months due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, now in its sixth month.
The deal came after agreement was reached between stakeholders on a UN-led plan to form a coordination center in Istanbul to carry out joint inspections at the entrances and exits of harbors, and to ensure the safety of routes. All parties have appointed representatives to monitor implementation of the plan.
Akar said the center will register and monitor the departure of commercial ships via satellite, internet, and other communication means, and will carry out all its activities in coordination with the parties and the UN.
He added that the ships will be inspected by joint inspection teams at locations deemed suitable for loading at Ukrainian ports and upon arrival at ports in Türkiye.
He stressed that the deal will be valid for 120 days, and it will be renewed unless there is a demand otherwise from any of the parties.
About demining Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea, Akar said if there is a need, the parties will act accordingly, but added: “At this stage, there is no need for demining.”
Akar said preparations continue for the first ships to leave Ukrainian ports, which he earlier said should start soon.
Previously, Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said grain exports from Ukrainian ports could resume within two weeks.