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UPDATE 1-U.N. secretary-general welcomes departure of first grain ship from Ukraine

(Changes dateline, adds quote)

GENEVA, Aug 1 (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday welcomed the departure of the first ship carrying grain from the Ukrainian port of Odesa to Lebanon, saying he hoped many more would follow, his spokesperson said in a statement.

The Sierra Leone-flagged ship Razoni left for foreign markets under a safe passage agreement, the first departure since the Russian invasion blocked shipping through the Black Sea five months ago.

The sailing was made possible after Turkey and the United Nations brokered a grain and fertiliser export agreement between Russia and Ukraine last month.

"The Secretary-General hopes that this will be the first of many commercial ships moving in accordance with the initiative signed, and that this will bring much-needed stability and relief to global food security especially in the most fragile humanitarian contexts," the U.N. statement said.

The World Food Programme also planned to purchase, load and ship an initial 30,000 metric tonnes of wheat out of Ukraine on a U.N.-chartered vessel, the statement added. (Reporting by Wendell Roelf; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Barbara Lewis)

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