Pope Francis insists that dialogue is always possible, even in the planet’s worst conflicts, and he said on Sunday that the shipments of grain leaving Ukraine are a sign of that fact.
I want to welcome with satisfaction the departure of the first ships loaded with grain from the ports of Ukraine. This step demonstrates that it is possible to dialogue and to reach concrete results for everyone’s benefit. Therefore, this event also presents itself as a sign of hope, and I sincerely hope that, following in this direction, there might be an end to combat and that a just and lasting peace might be reached.
Another two ships with grain left Ukraine on August 9, bringing the total so far to 12.
The United Nations and Turkey managed to craft a deal last month to enable the grain to safely leave Ukraine, helping to avert a food emergency across the planet.
Countries such as Yemen and Ethiopia, already sorely tried, have seen their situations drastically worsen with the Ukraine war. For example, Yemen traditionally has imported 90% of its food and critical supplies, and much of its wheat and cereals previously came from Ukraine and Russia.
Ukraine and Russia together accounted for nearly a third of global wheat exports prior to the war.
While the beginning of grain exports from Ukraine is a hopeful sign, the situation is not without its struggles.
The first ship to leave Ukraine reached Lebanon where it had been purchased within the private sector. However due to the five-month delay in shipping, the buyer rejected it.
On Monday, however, another shipment successfully reached Turkey.