U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres traveled to Istanbul late Thursday, as part of the efforts to finalize a deal to secure the Ukraine grain deal, according to deputy U.N. spokesperson Farhan Haq.
Haq said the U.N. wants to have an agreement that would allow Ukrainian and Russian food and fertilizer to reach global markets.
"People are still dying. It is still raging. But the hopeful news from Istanbul shows the importance of dialogue," he added.
The Presidential Communications Directorate said that the agreement for grain corridor deal would be signed with the participation of Russian and Ukrainian delegations, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and U.N. Secretary-General Guterres in Istanbul on Friday.
The United Nations and Turkish officials seek a general agreement with Russia and Ukraine in writing to resume Ukraine's Black Sea grain exports.
Last Thursday, Ankara said there is a consensus regarding establishing an operations center in Istanbul that will monitor the implementation of a potential sea corridor in the Black Sea to export grain from Ukraine.
Russia and Ukraine account for nearly a third of global wheat supplies, while Russia also exports fertilizer and Ukraine corn and sunflower oil. But Ukrainian grain shipments from its Black Sea ports have stalled since Russia invaded, with some 20 million tons of grain stuck.
The United Nations has appealed to both countries, as well as maritime neighbor Turkey, to create a sea corridor for Ukrainian grains to be exported from the Black Sea. Turkey has been coordinating with Russia and Ukraine to agree to a plan that would restart grain exports from Ukrainian ports.
Ankara has held talks with Moscow and the U.N. but says all sides need to meet for a final agreement.
Russian President Vladimir Putin thanked his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for his efforts to mediate discussions on the export of grain from Ukraine. "With your mediation, we have moved forward," Putin told Erdoğan in Tehran on Tuesday, according to the Kremlin.