Joint coordination centre for Ukraine’s grain shipment opens in Istanbul

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Turkey has inaugurated a Joint Coordination Centre in Istanbul to monitor the implementation of the grain shipment from Ukraine, Defence Minister Hulusi Akar told reporters.

Located inside the compound of a military university in the city’s Besiktas area, the centre consists of 20 representatives from Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the UN, five from each party, Xinhua news agency quoted Akar as saying.

This will guarantee the safe passage of vessels from Ukrainian ports through the Black Sea and the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul to global markets, said the Minister.

At the command centre, the representatives were seated around a large square table.

A map on a big screen was showing the details of the Black Sea and the locations of several vessels.

“This centre will register and follow the commercial ships that will be included in the initiative. It will technically track the journey of the ships through satellite, internet, and other means of communication,” Akar said, speaking of The Black Sea Grain Initiative signed in Istanbul on July 22.

Ships will be inspected by joint inspection teams at locations deemed appropriate upon loading at Ukrainian ports and arrival at ports in Turkey, he said.

“If there is a need for demining, plans agreed by all parties would be made. However, there is no need at this stage.”

Earlier, a source who asked to be identified as “a senior UN official” told Xinhua that the shipments will be inspected to make sure there will be no transportation of weapons.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko said he hoped the deal would work, according to media reports.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday that the deal would allow both Ukraine and Russia to export their products.

“There are products to be exported by Russia as well, and the deal paves the way for it. Likewise, it paves the way for the export of Ukraine’s grain, sunflower, and sunflower oil,” he said.

Cavusoglu pointed out that Turkey would continue to play its constructive role to ensure the plan runs smoothly.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Naval Forces said that operations have resumed in the Black Sea ports of Odesa, Chornomorsk and Pivdenny in line with the grain exports deal.

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