Türkiye-led Ukraine grain deal ‘major diplomatic coup’: Malaysia’s Anwar Ibrahim


A top Malaysian politician has hailed the Ankara-brokered deal to resume Ukraine’s Black Sea grain exports.

“This is a major diplomatic coup,” said Anwar Ibrahim, incumbent opposition leader in Malaysian parliament, referring to the deal signed by Türkiye, the UN, Russia, and Ukraine on Friday.

Ibrahim was speaking to Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview in Istanbul.

Thanking Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish authorities, and the Turkish people for taking the lead, Ibrahim said: “This (deal) is a remarkable story in the period of despair and negativity.”

“The President (Recep) Tayyip Erdogan has managed to bring together Ukraine and Russia to settle an international problem of food security.

“This is a major diplomatic victory. Although there is still war, this is at least an opportunity to able to meet and engage,” said the globally renowned reformer and academic-turned-politician.

The deal, in presence of Erdogan and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, came after a general agreement reached between the parties on a UN-led plan during talks in Istanbul on July 13 to form a coordination center to carry out joint inspections at the entrance and exit of the harbors, and to ensure the safety of the routes.

Internationally praised for its mediator role, Türkiye coordinated with Moscow and Kyiv to open a corridor from the Ukrainian port city of Odesa to resume global grain shipments which are stuck due to the Russia-Ukraine war, now in its fifth month.

Ibrahim, who in past also performed duties as Malaysia’s deputy prime minister, said the deal “affects the food security… therefore the welfare of general people in Türkiye and other countries.”

Matter of pride that Türkiye played role of mediator

Pointing to participation of the UN chief, the Malaysian politician said the deal was a “major step in resolving partly the problem that is affecting lives of the common people.”

“This is a major diplomatic success in terms of resolving the problem of escalating prices of food and more so food security,” he added.

Referring to Russia-Ukraine war which began on Feb. 24, Ibrahim said the grain exports deal indicates “at least there is light at the end of tunnel… where engagement is taking place though not substantive matter affecting the war which means there is a form of collaboration taking place.”

“What Türkiye has done is to be able to use its influence in trying to settle a major dispute that affects livelihood of people and to me that is very significant,” said Ibrahim, who earlier taught at US-based Georgetown University among others.

“This (Türkiye) is probably the only country that has been able to bring these two countries together at least on some specific sphere, in this case import and export of grain,” said Ibrahim, calling himself a personal and family friend of Erdogan.

“We are proud at least we have an emerging moderate Muslim nation (Türkiye) undertaking that role,” he added.

According to UN figures, over 5,100 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since the beginning of the war on Feb. 24. Over 15 million people have also been forced to flee their homes, including more than 9.5 million that have fled to other countries.

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