About 20 million tons of grain are stuck in Ukrainian ports because of the war. In order to avoid starvation in the importing countries, a compromise is to be found. Turkey wants to mediate with ship corridors and a hotline.
Turkey has proposed a solution to the dispute over grain exports from Ukraine. Passages in the Black Sea could be set up without clearing all mines, said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. "Since the location of the mines is known, corridors could be created in three (Ukrainian) ports." He discussed the plan last week at a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Ankara.
Further talks with Kyiv and Moscow are necessary before an agreement can be reached. A hotline has been set up between the three countries to vote, Turkish TV station TRT reported. If an agreement is reached, a control body based in Istanbul could be created.
Russia had previously asked Ukraine to clear all sea mines in front of the ports. Otherwise the grain cannot be exported. According to Ukrainian sources, however, this poses a security risk. It is estimated that around 20 million tons of grain are stuck in Ukrainian ports because of the war. Russia and Ukraine account for almost a third of global wheat shipments. The main customers are usually countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
According to UN estimates, the current blockade could trigger starvation in up to 19 million people next year. According to a study, rising food prices could lead to social unrest. Eleven countries that are net importers of food or are dependent on imports of food that has become scarce, such as grain, are particularly at risk, writes the credit insurer Allianz Trade in a study published on Tuesday. These are Algeria, Tunisia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Turkey and Sri Lanka.
In some countries, the rise in food prices could even lead to the overthrow of governments like in the Arab Spring, the insurer warns. Even before the mass protests in several Arab countries at the time, food prices had risen by 50 percent. Today, the wheat price is even higher than it was in 2012. "If we don't feed the people, we're feeding the conflict," Allianz Trade summarizes the situation.