Ukraine, Russia, and Turkey have come to a preliminary agreement described as a ray of hope to ease human suffering and hunger around the world. The countries’ deal would allow for the export of grain through the Black Sea.
That important food source for the world, totaling millions of tons, has been stuck in limbo since the war began because shipping routes have been cut off by mines. The shipments would be made possible by a coordination center in Istanbul, joint controls at ports and points of delivery, and assurances of navigational safety through the mines.
The Wall Street Journal reported Russia agreed to a ceasefire, allowing for the passage of ships, and Ukrainian vessels would sweep the area for mines so merchant vessels can safely pass. The Turkish navy would inspect incoming vessels to ease Russia’s concerns that the ships picking up grain could first be used to smuggle in weapons.
The United Nations Secretary General said he hopes the agreement will be finalized next week, but he doesn’t necessarily think it will lead to a larger peace deal.
“I think in any case, this demonstrated that the parties are able to have a constructive dialogue. And this is of course, very good news. But for peace, we still have a long way to go,” U.N. Secretary General António Guterres said.
Israel, India, the U.S. and United Arab Emirates reached another important food security agreement. The UAE will invest $2 billion in India to create what are being described as state of the art, climate smart food parks.
“We want to change the world for the better, but we are also creating relative advantages for our countries, for our businesses, for our science sector,” interim Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said.
The U.S. and Israel will allow private companies to lend their expertise to the farmers there to maximize crop yields, reduce food waste and water use. The White House said the goal is to maximize food security in the Middle East and Asia.
“The challenges we face in the world and our world in the 21st century demand that we find new ways of working together, whether it’s dealing with the accelerating climate crisis, which is being felt here in the Middle East every single day, or growing food insecurity and volatile energy markets made worse by Russia’s brutal and unprovoked attack against its neighboring Ukraine,” President Joe Biden said.
The President now heads to Saudi Arabia where he hopes to convince OPEC nations to increase oil production to lower the price of gas.