Macron proposed UN vote to Putin to lift Odesa port blockade

French president says hopeful of agreement to allow export of foodgrains stuck due to blockade.

Macron proposed UN vote to Putin to lift Odesa port blockade

French President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday that he urged his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to take the issue of lifting the blockade of the port of Odesa to the UN in order to allow the export of Ukrainian cereals stuck there.

Speaking to the press following a European Union summit in Brussels which adopted the sixth European package of sanctions against Russia over its war against Ukraine, Macron said he hoped for an agreement in the coming weeks with Moscow to allow Ukrainian exports of foodgrains.

He recalled that in the last call conducted jointly with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, he suggested to Putin the “initiative of a vote on the resolution at the UN to give a very clear framework to this operation."

The EU and the African Union are concerned about the serious ramifications of the war on food security.

Several African countries dependent on foodgrains from Russia and Ukraine have urged the EU to undertake every possible measure to unblock the grain stocks and transport them to the countries in need. About 20 million tons of cereals are stuck in the port of Odesa near the Black Sea, which is currently under a Russian blockade.

Macron said Ukraine would need a security guarantee from Russia to allow ships and bulk carriers to transport the cereals out of Odesa safely without being attacked. He added that a UN framework and Türkiye will have an important role to carry out this operation in the Black Sea.

He underlined that Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan had produced "positive conclusions" following recent talks on the matter.

Aegean Islands

Macron also argued that Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has "legitimate concerns" regarding the Eastern Aegean islands and that many Turkish officials have made statements questioning Greece's sovereignty over the islands.

Noting that the EU, especially France, will continue to support Greece, the French leader added that "today, no one can endanger the sovereignty of a (EU) member state. These statements must be condemned as soon as possible."

Mitsotakis asks at summit for condemnation of Türkiye

Mitsotakis also asked the EU to condemn Türkiye if the tensions between Ankara and Athens continued.

Speaking at the press conference after the EU Leaders' Summit, Mitsotakis said: "If Türkiye insists on this illogical and fruitless strategy, I requested that this issue get discussed at the EU Summit in June. In the final declaration, I asked for a clear and definitive statement to condemn this new, unnecessary and useless provocation of Türkiye.”

He also argued that Greece is one of the leading countries in shipping in Europe, so Greek ships could play an important role in getting grain stuck in Ukraine out.

Hüseyin Demir