Friday, September 22, 2023

Turkey warns any grain route plans leaving out Russia bound to fail

Turkey is placing enormous importance on ensuring food security in Africa, but any alternatives to the grain deal excluding Russia are bound to fail, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan cautioned on Sunday.

“In the grain corridor process, we believe that any initiative that isolates Russia is bound to fail, its success is of very little possibility,” the Turkish leader said after the G20 Summit in New Delhi.

Erdogan also noted that Turkey and Qatar were placing great significance on grain supplies to Africa, where food scarcity has had a serious impact.

“When meeting with [Russian Foreign Minister] Sergey Lavrov, I proposed that we do not limit ourselves to 1 million tonnes [of grain supplies to Africa], but send even more grain instead, since African countries need it,” he added.

Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced after a meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, that his country would soon ship free grain to six African countries in a bid to alleviate food shortages on the continent.

On July 18, the Turkey- and UN-mediated Black Sea Grain Initiative, or grain deal as it is commonly called, which provided for a humanitarian corridor to enable exports of Ukrainian grain over the past year amid the Russian military operation expired as Moscow did not renew its participation in the deal. The Kremlin announced that the deal’s component on facilitating Russian grain and fertilizer exports had not been fulfilled.

On Saturday, Turkish officials told Bloomberg that Erdogan is trying to persuade G20 leaders to fulfill promises made to Moscow in line with an agreement allowing the shipment of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea.

Erdogan has approached the heads of state of the world’s top economies on the issue of reviving the Black Sea Grain Initiative in closed-door meetings on the sidelines of the G20 summit in New Delhi, the news agency reported on Saturday.

The Turkish leader wants his counterparts to agree to facilitate the insurance of Russian food and fertilizer exports by Lloyd’s of London, and to reconnect Moscow to the SWIFT international payments system, the sources stated.

An Indian official who spoke to Bloomberg also said Erdogan has frequently brought up the grain deal in meetings at the summit.

The news outlet suggested that the Turkish president’s “efforts aren’t likely to sway Ukraine’s allies in the US and Europe.”

Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov stressed on Saturday that Moscow remains unsatisfied with the conditions for the resumption of the grain deal that are currently being offered to it.

“For example, it’s now said that the West is allegedly ready to promise to allow access to SWIFT to the subsidiary of [Russian agricultural bank] Rosselkhozbank. But the fact is that the agreement states that access to SWIFT should be restored for Rosselkhozbank, not its subsidiary,” Peskov added.

Russia has every right to wait until the terms of the initial deal are fulfilled, he continued.

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