The diplomatic missions of the US and UK in Türkiye on Wednesday separately hailed Ankara for efforts to resume export of Ukrainian grain stuck for months due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.
The first grain-laden ship to leave Ukraine since the war with Russia began on Feb. 24 continues to sail to Lebanon after Wednesday's inspection by a team from the Joint Coordination Center (JCC) in Istanbul.
“We welcome the arrival of the cargo ship Razoni in Istanbul today as a vital step towards mitigating the global food security crisis. We applaud Türkiye for its diplomacy to ensure safe passage of grain from Ukraine to global markets,” the US consulate general in Istanbul said on Twitter.
The Sierra Leone-flagged cargo ship Razoni, carrying over 26,500 tons of corn, anchored off the Turkish coast near the Black Sea entrance of the Istanbul Strait on Tuesday night for joint inspections. It departed from Ukraine's port of Odesa on Monday under a historic deal brokered by Ankara and the UN last month.
The inspections lasted over an hour, and after getting a security clearance in Istanbul, the ship passed through the Turkish Straits en route to the port of Tripoli in Lebanon.
Separately, in his first video message in Türkiye, Ajay Sharma, British Embassy’s Chargé d'Affaires, said the Ukraine grain deal was only possible because of the diplomatic efforts led by Türkiye and the UN.
“We, as the UK, attach great importance and support to this agreement. This diplomatic success is indeed crucial to eliminating the threat to food security and ending the grain blockade of Ukraine,” Sharma added.
He said the UK will continue to support the implementation of the agreement as it is in the world's interest.
Türkiye, the UN, Russia, and Ukraine signed the deal on July 22 to reopen three Ukrainian ports – Odesa, Chernomorsk, and Yuzhny – for grain export.
The JCC opened on July 27 comprising representatives from Türkiye, the UN, Russia, and Ukraine to enable safe transportation by merchant ships of commercial foodstuffs and fertilizers from the three key Ukrainian Black Sea ports.