UN Secretary-General António Guterres has welcomed the official start of the operation based in the Turkish city of Istanbul, which will help implement the UN-brokered deal to resume exports of Ukrainian grain via the Black Sea, amid the ongoing conflict and rising food prices worldwide. 

The Joint Coordination Centre (JCC), inaugurated on Wednesday, brings together senior representatives from Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the UN. 

The Secretary-General has underscored the importance of the parties working in partnership directly to effectively implement the Black Sea Grain Initiative, with a view to reducing global food insecurity, UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq said in a statement issued late that day. 

Ukraine, Russia and Türkiye signed the agreement in Istanbul on Friday.  

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.   

“This will help to effectively respond to and prevent rising global food insecurity,” said Mr. Haq. 

“Together with the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Russian Federation and the Secretariat of the United Nations on promoting the access of Russian food products and fertilizers to world markets, it will help reinstate confidence in the global food market and reduce food prices from their current levels,” he added.