Türkiye's UN envoy stresses importance of diplomacy to end Ukraine war

Türkiye's UN envoy stresses importance of diplomacy to end Ukraine war

Türkiye is committed to Ukraine's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, says Türkiye's UN Ambassador Sedat Onal

By Firdevs Bulut Kartal

TORONTO (AA) - Türkiye's permanent representative to the United Nations said Tuesday that diplomacy should be given priority and should form the basis of efforts to end the devastating Ukraine war and ensure a just and lasting peace.

The war in Ukraine has been going on for more than 500 days and thousands of civilians have lost their lives, millions of people have been displaced, and the financial cost has reached billions of dollars, Ambassador Sedat Onal told a UN General Assembly meeting on the situation of the occupied territories of Ukraine.

Onal said the impact of the war was worrisome, especially on women and children.

"Türkiye’s position has been clear and consistent from the outset. We remain committed to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity," he said.

Explaining how Türkiye has been trying to find a political solution through diplomacy since the first day of the crisis, Onal noted that Türkiye defended freedom of action for the distribution of humanitarian aid by the UN and other international organizations.

He pointed out that accountability is also an important issue and called on all parties to investigate violations fairly and independently and punish offenders.

Emphasizing that the Black Sea grain deal has a stabilizing effect in this context, Onal said: "We hope that the current hold will be temporary and the operations will be resumed as soon as possible by addressing the needs and expectations of all stakeholders."

He also pointed out the importance of ensuring security in and around the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant and said the escalation of tensions in this region should be prevented.

"Diplomacy must be prioritized, and it should be part and parcel of all efforts to end this destructive war and forge the elements of a just and viable peace," he said, adding that conflict resolution cannot be achieved solely by the dynamics of the battleground.

The grain deal, initially signed in July of last year in Istanbul by Türkiye, the UN, Russia and Ukraine, was aimed at resuming grain exports from Ukrainian ports which had been halted as a result of the Russia-Ukraine war which began in February 2022.

On May 18, the deal was extended for an additional 60 days, ensuring the continuation of grain exports under the agreement and averting a global food crisis.

Russia announced Monday, however, that it had suspended the deal, asserting that most of the grain exported under the scheme from Ukraine was going to EU countries rather than food-strapped regions in Africa and that parts of the agreement related to Russian interests had gone unimplemented.

Ukraine's president said Tuesday that he discussed the resumption of the deal with the UN's top official.

In a statement on Telegram, Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he and Secretary-General Antonio Guterres agreed over the phone to continue work with "responsible states" to ensure global food security.

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