UNITED NATIONS, July 13. /TASS/. A critical step to ensure Ukrainian food exports was made in Istanbul on Wednesday, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said following a meeting that involved the military delegations of Russia, Turkey and Ukraine, as well as UN officials.
"Today in Istanbul, we have seen a critical step. A step forward to ensuring the safe and secure exports of Ukrainian food products through the Black Sea," he pointed out. "More technical work will now be needed to materialize today's progress," Guterres added.
"In the end, the aim of all parties is not just an agreement between the Russian Federation and Ukraine, but an agreement for the world," he emphasized.
"I thank the government of Turkey for their outstanding efforts to convene these talks and that critical role going forward. I thank Russian and Ukrainian officials for their constructive engagements," the UN chief said.
The establishment of the so-called grain corridor was discussed at a meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara on June 8. The military delegations of Russia and Turkey held talks on ways to unblock Ukrainian grain exports on June 21. In addition, the defense ministries of Russia, Turkey and Ukraine set up a hotline to coordinate issues related to Ukrainian grain exports. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said following a NATO summit on June 28-30 that Ankara was ready to transport Ukrainian agricultural goods across the Black Sea. Lavrov said on July 8 that Moscow was willing to hold talks with Kiev and Ankara on Ukrainian grain exports. According to him, the militaries should play a key role in the process.