Turkey, Ukraine discuss resumption of grain export deal

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky discussed resuming the implementation of a deal that allows the export of grain from designated Black Sea ports.

In a phone conversation with Zelensky, Erdogan expressed his pleasure that the parties had resolved the grain shipments problem via cooperation, Türkiye’s presidency said in a statement on Wednesday.

While saying it was of critical importance for the entire world that both Ukraine and Russia could sell their grain products, Erdogan emphasized the significance of the continuation of the grain shipment agreement, it added.

Russia on Wednesday announced its return to the implementation of the grain export deal via the Black Sea, saying Ukraine has promised not to use the humanitarian corridor for military attacks.

Thanks to the participation of the United Nations and the assistance of Türkiye, the joint coordination center for the implementation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative on Tuesday received a written guarantee from Ukraine of not using the shipping route defined in the deal and Ukrainian ports designated for grain export to conduct military operations against Russia, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

Earlier on Wednesday, Erdogan confirmed that Moscow had agreed to resume its implementation of the grain export deal.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar was informed by his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu that the grain agreement would “continue in the same way as before” as of Wednesday, Erdogan told his party members at the parliament.

He said “the goods news” followed his phone talk with Russian President Vladimir Putin a day earlier, in which the two leaders discussed the deal’s implementation.

First shipments now will prioritize African countries, including Somalia, Djibouti, and Sudan, Erdogan added.

The UN-brokered grain export deal was reached in late July in an effort to ensure the supplies of Russian and Ukrainian grain and agri-products to global markets in the course of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Russia announced on Saturday its suspension of the implementation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, accusing Ukraine of carrying out drone attacks on the Russian Black Sea Fleet near Sevastopol and infrastructure at the naval base there, which Ukraine denied.

On Tuesday, Akar said, “Ukrainian interlocutors made (written) statements that relieved these concerns both during their conversations with us and during the meetings of the officials at the Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul.”