MOSCOW (RockedBuzz via Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said after talks on Monday with Russia’s Vladimir Putin that it would soon be possible to revive the wheat deal which the United Nations said has helped ease the food crisis by entering the Ukrainian grain on the market.
Russia withdrew from the deal in July – a year after mediation by the United Nations and Turkey – complaining that its exports of food and fertilizers were facing serious obstacles.
Erdogan, who previously played a significant role in persuading Putin to abide by the deal, and the United Nations are both trying to get Putin to go back on the deal.
“As Turkey, we believe we will reach a solution that will meet expectations in a short time,” Erdogan said in the Black Sea resort of Sochi after his first face-to-face meeting with Putin since 2022.
Erdogan said Russia’s expectations are well known to all and the shortcomings should be eliminated, adding that Turkey and the United Nations have been working on a new package of suggestions to ease Russian concerns.
Putin said Russia could return to the grain deal if the West fulfills a separate memorandum agreed at the same time with the United Nations to facilitate Russian food and fertilizer exports.
Alongside Erdogan, Putin said Russia could return to the deal, but only if the West stopped restricting Russian agricultural exports from reaching global markets.
“We will be ready to consider reviving the grain deal and I repeated this to Mr. President today: we will do so as soon as all agreements on lifting export restrictions on Russian agricultural products are fully implemented,” Putin said . he said.
He said Western claims that Russia stoked a food crisis by suspending participation in the grain deal were incorrect as prices did not rise after exiting the deal.
“There is no physical shortage of food,” Putin said.
While Russian food and fertilizer exports are not subject to Western sanctions imposed after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Russia exported record amounts of grain last year, Moscow and agricultural exporters say restrictions on payments, logistics and on insurance they hindered shipments.
“The West continues to block the supply of grains and fertilizers from the Russian Federation to world markets,” Putin said, adding that the West “misled” Russia about the deal because rich countries got more than 70 percent of grain exported under the agreement. Deal.
Russia and Ukraine are two of the world’s leading agricultural producers and major players in the markets for wheat, barley, corn, canola, rapeseed oil, sunflower seeds, and sunflower oil.
Putin said Russia expects a grain harvest of 130 million tons this year, of which 60 million could be exported.
UN Secretary General António Guterres said on Thursday that he had sent Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov “a series of concrete proposals” aimed at relaunching the agreement.
One of Moscow’s main demands is that the Russian Agricultural Bank be reconnected to the SWIFT international payments system. The EU stopped it in June 2022 as part of broad sanctions imposed in response to the invasion.
Putin said the plan to deliver up to 1 million tons of Russian grain to Turkey at reduced prices for further processing in Turkish plants and shipment to countries most in need is not an alternative to the grain deal.
He also said Russia was close to an agreement with six African countries on a plan to supply Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Mali, Somalia, the Central African Republic and Eritrea with up to 50,000 tons of grain each free of charge.
(Written by Guy Faulconbridge; additional reporting by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne, Orhan Coskun and Ece Toksabay in Ankara, and Michelle Nichols at the United Nations; editing by Robert Birsel and Philippa Fletcher)