Conflicts & War

Erdogan urges Putin to return to Black Sea grain deal

Istanbul/Moscow, Aug 2 (EFE).- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday urged his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to renew the Ukrainian grain export agreement and not to add to tensions in the conflict, after Moscow attacked a river port that is vital for grain exports from Ukraine.

During the telephone call with Putin, Erdogan noted that the agreement, which expired on July 17, could be a “bridge to peace,” Anadolu news agency reported.

Erdogan urged Russia to avoid taking steps that would lead to rising tensions in the war, after Moscow damaged a grain silo in Izmail, a port bordering Romania, a Nato member.

Since Russia suspended the deal known as the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Izmail, a river port on the Danube River, has become Ukraine’s most important commercial gateway.

Erdogan insisted that a long-term suspension of the grain export agreement would not benefit anyone and would mainly harm the lower income countries, which need to import grain.

He recalled that after the agreement was approved in July last year, the global price of grain had fallen by 23%, while it had risen again by 15% in the last two weeks, when the deal was frozen.

Putin, for his part, responded that extending the grain export pact made no sense because of the “total lack of progress” on certain Russian requirements included in the agreement, according to a Kremlin statement.

He assured Erdogan that he was ready to resume the pact as soon as the West assumed its obligations towards Russia.

Throughout the past year, Moscow had complained that although the export of Russian grain and fertilizer was included in the agreement, its ships faced enormous difficulties in using European ports or the SWIFT international banking system, due to EU sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. EFE


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