Erdogan asserts that the Black Sea grain agreement will soon be reinstated. After talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan stated that it would soon be feasible to revive the grain deal that, according to the United Nations, helped alleviate a food crisis by bringing Ukrainian grain to market.
Russia quit the deal in July – a year after it was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey – complaining that its food and fertilizer exports confronted severe obstacles.
Erdogan, who previously played an important role in persuading Putin to adhere to the agreement, and the United Nations are attempting to convince Putin to return to the agreement.
Erdogan stated in the Black Sea resort of Sochi after his first face-to-face meeting with Putin since 2022, “As Turkey, we are confident that we will quickly reach a solution that meets the expectations.”
Erdogan stated that everyone was aware of Russia’s expectations and that the deficiencies should be addressed, adding that Turkey and the United Nations had collaborated on a new set of recommendations to alleviate Russian concerns.
Putin has stated that Russia could return to the grain agreement if the West complies with a separate memorandum agreed with the United Nations to facilitate Russian exports of food and fertilizer.
Standing beside Erdogan, Putin stated that Russia could return to the agreement only if the West lifted restrictions on Russian agricultural exports to global markets.
Putin stated, “We will be willing to consider the possibility of reviving the grain deal as soon as all agreements regarding the lifting of export restrictions on Russian agricultural products are fully implemented.”
He stated that Western claims that Russia had stoked a food crisis by withdrawing from the grain agreement were false, as prices did not rise.
“There is no physical shortage of food,” Putin stated.
While Russian exports of food and fertilizer are not subject to Western sanctions imposed after Russia invaded Ukraine and Russia exported record quantities of wheat last year, Moscow and agricultural exporters claim that restrictions on payments, logistics, and insurance have impeded shipments.
“The West continues to block the supply of grain and fertilizers from the Russian Federation to world markets,” Putin said, adding that the West had “cheated” Russia over the agreement because wealthy countries received more than 70 percent of the grain exported under the deal.
Russia and Ukraine are two of the world’s most important agricultural producers and significant players in the markets for wheat, barley, corn, rapeseed, rapeseed oil, sunflower seed, and sunflower oil.
Putin estimated that Russia would harvest 130 million tonnes of grain this year, of which 60 million could be exported.
On Thursday, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said that he had sent Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov “a set of concrete proposals” to revive the deal.
The reconnection of the Russian Agricultural Bank to the SWIFT international payments system is one of Moscow’s chief demands. In June 2022, the EU will shut it off as part of sweeping sanctions imposed in response to the invasion.
Putin stated that a proposal to supply up to 1 million tonnes of Russian grain to Turkey at reduced prices for subsequent processing at Turkish plants and shipment to the most in-need countries was not an alternative to the grain agreement.
In addition, he stated that Russia was close to reaching an agreement with six African nations on a plan to provide each of Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Mali, Somalia, the Central African Republic, and Eritrea with up to 50,000 tonnes of grain at no cost.