The Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) established after Russia and Ukraine agreed to the Black Sea Grain Initiative brokered by Türkiye and United Nations auspices was officially inaugurated in Istanbul on July 27.
“The JCC will facilitate the implementation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative to establish a humanitarian maritime corridor to allow ships to export grain and related foodstuffs and fertilizers from Ukraine,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs stated in the press release on July 27.
The center will monitor shipment
Since Russia’s offensive on Ukraine began in February, it is estimated that up to 25 million tons of grains and food supplies have been stuck in the ports of Ukraine, and 20 merchant ships are waiting to transport the products in question. As Russia and Ukraine produce approximately 30 percent of the World’s grain exports, the issue prompted a food crisis and concerns over famine in developing countries in addition to the growing food prices in the world leading to inflation.
In order to tackle the crisis Russia and Ukraine agreed on an UN-brokered grain initiative with Türkiye on July 22, which indicated an establishment of the JCC. An attack on the Ukraine port of Odesa just hours after the signatures cast a shadow on the future of the initiative however the officials at the inauguration underlined the will to tackle the problem.
“The JCC will enable the safe transportation, by merchant ships, of commercial foodstuffs and fertilizer from three key Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea: Odesa, Chornomorsk and Yuzhny. The center will focus on exporting bulk commercial grain and related food commodities only; ensure the on-site control and monitoring of cargo from Ukrainian ports; and report on shipments facilitated through the initiative”, the UN office indicated.
Türkiye’s Minister: Ships are loading in Ukraine
The center comprises 5 military and civilian representatives each from Ukraine, Russian Federation, Türkiye and the UN, Türkiye’s National Security Minister Hulusi Akar stated at the opening ceremony at Istanbul National Security University where the center will be located.
“This. It will technically track the journey of the ships through satellite, internet and other means of communication,” Akar said.
The minister added that the initiative started working following the signatures on July 22, and “loading processes of the ships that will leave the Ukrainian ports is ongoing.”
“If there is a need for demining, plans agreed by all parties would be made. However, there is no need at this stage,” he added.
Merchant ships were stranded in ports due to mines placed on Ukraine’s Black Sea coasts, Russian attacks and sanctions against Russia.