United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has welcomed the first commercial vessel sailing from Ukraine’s Odesa under the Black Sea Grain Initiative brokered by the UN and Turkey.
The cargo ship loaded with more than 26,000 tons of corn should arrive at the inspection location in Turkish territorial waters on Tuesday. Following inspection, it will proceed to its final destination in Tripoli, Lebanon, Guterres was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.
“This ship, the Merchant Vessel Razoni, is loaded with two commodities in short supply: corn, and hope. Hope for millions of people around the world who depend on the smooth running of Ukraine’s ports to feed their families,” he told reporters.
The ship’s departure is the first concrete result of the Black Sea Grain Initiative. “Today’s departure is an enormous collective achievement by the Joint Coordination Center, set up last week in Istanbul under UN auspices, with representatives from Ukraine, Russia, and Turkey,” Guterres said.
The Black Sea Grain Initiative, signed by Russia and Ukraine with Turkey under the UN on July 22, would allow significant volumes of food and fertilizer exports from three key Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea, namely Odesa, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny.
The deal aims to ensure the safe passage for ships carrying grain to world markets amid concerns about food shortages due to the prolonged crisis in Ukraine.
“What we’ve witnessed today in Odesa is an important starting point. It must be the first of many commercial ships bringing relief and stability to global food markets,” said Guterres.
“Together with the agreed facilitation of the unimpeded access of Russian food products and fertilizers to world markets, it will bring relief and stability to global food markets and help tackle the global food crisis,” he added.