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UK offers expertise to help Ukraine export grain under UN plan

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theguardian.com

The UK is offering its expertise to help escort Ukraine’s grain from its ports under a UN plan designed to prevent a mass famine across Africa, the UK foreign secretary, Liz Truss, said in Ankara on Thursday after meeting Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.Turkey has been trying to negotiate the terms of an escort for more than 20m tonnes of urgently needed Ukrainian grain, but Çavuşoğlu said he had not been able to secure a date for a meeting between Ukraine and Russia – a sign that an agreement on safe passage for the convoy had not been reached.Russia is demanding the lifting of sanctions on Russian shipping in return for allowing the convoys to leave the Ukrainian port of Odesa and head through the Black Sea.Truss said: “It’s very clear that Ukrainian ports must be protected.

There needs to be safe passage for commercial vessels. And the United Kingdom is offering our expertise on all of those fronts to make sure that we have the measures in place so that grain can safely leave, but it is going to require an international effort.”No agreement has yet been reached on the details of how the grain convoys would be inspected to ensure they were not carrying arms for Ukraine.

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