UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday thanked Türkiye for its "pivotal role" in the signing of the recent grain export deal, officially known as the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
His remarks came during a joint press conference with Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar at the Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) overseeing Ukrainian grain exports in Istanbul.
Noting that every member of the delegations represented at the JCC – Ukrainian, Russian, Turkish, and UN – have been working with dedication and professionalism, he said: "They embody what we can achieve with political will, top operational expertise, and collective effort."
"The other part of this package deal is unimpeded access to the global markets of Russian food and fertilizer, which are not subject to sanctions," he said, adding that it is "important" that all governments and the private sector cooperate to bring them to market.
"Without fertilizer in 2022, there may not be enough food in 2023," the UN chief said, adding: "Getting more food and fertilizer out of Ukraine and Russia is crucial to further calm commodity markets and lower prices for consumers."
He underlined that more than 650,000 metric tons of grain and other food are already on their way to markets around the world.
We are at beginning of a much longer process, Guterres said of last month's grain deal but added that the potential of this "critical agreement" has already been shown.
Türkiye, the UN, Russia, and Ukraine signed the deal last month to resume grain exports from the Ukrainian Black Sea ports of Yuzhny, Chornomorsk, and Odesa, which were halted due to the Russia-Ukraine war, now in its sixth month.
For his part, Akar said that since Aug. 1, 51 ships have sailed for grain shipments, of which 27 have set off from while 24 have entered Ukrainian ports.
On the amount of grain exported, he said: "We consider that this number will gradually increase."