By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
ISTANBUL (Worthy News) – With millions of people facing starvation, Russia and Ukraine agreed to end their dispute over blocked grain exports by next week, the United Nations and Turkey said Wednesday.
Russian and Ukrainian delegations met for face-to-face talks in Istanbul as the Russian invasion of Ukraine prevented vital shipments of Ukrainian food produce.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization said war could worsen hunger for up to 181 million people as it endangered food supplies for many developing nations, raising food prices globally.
Kyiv also accused Moscow of blocking and sometimes stealing its grain. Moscow denies wrongdoing saying Kyiv is free to ship grain from its ports.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was hopeful that a formal agreement to free up grain exports through the Black Sea world be inked next week.
“We are hoping that we’ll be able to reconvene very soon, I’m sure next week, and hopefully we’ll be able to have a final agreement,” Guterres said after the meeting.
He said there was “broad agreement” on a UN plan to ship millions of tons of grain blocked in Ukraine due to the Russian invasion. The agreement would also enable Russia to send out grain and fertilizer.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, who hosted the talks, said the parties agreed on “joint controls” at ports and ways to “ensure the safety of the transfer routes” across the Black Sea.
That would be welcome news for nations worldwide, including import-dependent Middle Eastern and North African countries.
Soaring prices and shortages create more significant challenges for millions of families already struggling to keep hunger at bay, according to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).
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