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Russia-Ukraine Grain Talks Show Promise; Further Meetings Scheduled

Talks held in Istanbul on grain exports between delegations from Russia and Ukraine have shown distinct progress toward quieting the disputes over blocked exports from the Black Sea - so much so, that further meetings are being scheduled for the week of July 18 in Turkey.

Turkey’s defense minister Hulusi Akar said in a July 13 statement that the two sides agreed on “joint controls” at ports, and came to an agreement on ways to “ensure the safety of the transfer routes” across the Black Sea.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the meeting, which was the first face-to-face talk between the two sides since March, was an important and substantive step toward a deal to resume exports of Ukrainian grain, adding hopes that a final agreement will be forged in the next meeting.

Negotiators are hoping to find a solution that would empty Ukraine’s silos before the upcoming harvest. A portion of the country’s grain is being transported by rail, truck, and river barge through Europe, but the volumes are small compared to what would be exported via cargo ships.

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