Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania sign agreement on Black Sea demining
After months of negotiations, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Romania signed an agreement on January 11 on a joint plan to clear the Black Sea of mines
Reuters reported this.
Turkish Defense Minister Yaşar Güler, his Romanian counterpart Angel Tîlvăr, and Bulgarian Deputy Defense Minister Atanas Zapryanov signed a memorandum of understanding in Istanbul to form a trilateral initiative to help clear the sea of explosive ordnance.
The article states that after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, sea mines pose a threat to export routes through the Black Sea. In particular, several commercial vessels and a bulk carrier en route to the Danube River port to load grain were damaged.
"With the start of the war, a threat of floating mines in the Black Sea has arisen. To combat it ... we agreed to form a Black Sea mine counter-measures task group," Guler said at the signing ceremony.
He added that three mine-searching ships and one control vessel from each country will be involved in this initiative.
At the same time, the naval commanders of the three signatory states will form a committee to manage the operation, and after the war is over, other willing countries will be able to join.
The Turkish defense minister said Ankara sees the potential contribution of non-Black Sea NATO allies to this initiative as valuable, but it will be open only to ships from three coastal allies.
On November 21, it was reported that NATO members Turkey, Romania, and Bulgaria are approaching an agreement to create a joint force to clear mines in the Black Sea following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
On December 16, it was announced that an agreement between Bulgaria, Romania, and Turkey on the demining of the Black Sea would be signed on January 11.