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Erdogan: Excluding Russia from grain deal talks will not be sustainable

September 10, 2023 at 1:18 pm

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) greets Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) at the G20 Osaka Summit 2019, in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019 [Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images]

Any initiative to revive the Black Sea grain deal that excludes Russia will not be sustainable, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday, reports Anadolu Agency.

“A process for the grain issue that excludes Russia is unlikely to be sustainable,” Erdogan said at a news conference after the G-20 summit in India.

The G-20 leaders, in the absence of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, gathered in the capital New Delhi for a two-day summit under the theme of “One Earth, One Family, One Future.”

This July, Moscow suspended its participation in the Black Sea grain deal, brokered by Turkiye and the UN, to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports that were paused after the Ukraine war in February 2022.

Moscow has complained that the West failed to meet its obligations on Russian grain exports and that not enough Ukrainian grain was going to countries in need. It says restrictions on payments, logistics, and insurance have stood in the way of its shipments.

READ: UN reportedly proposes 4-point plan to Russia to revive grain deal

Turkiye says the deal should be resumed by addressing deficiencies, and there is no alternative as other proposals have failed to offer a “sustainable, secure and lasting” model.

“We are making intense efforts to end the Russia-Ukraine war, which has cost hundreds of thousands of lives. We have undertaken many diplomatic moves, from the Istanbul Process, which brought the parties around the same table, to prisoner exchanges and the Black Sea Initiative,” Erdogan said.

Within the framework of the Black Sea grain deal, 33 million tons of grain were delivered to international markets, Erdogan said, adding: “Thanks to the initiative, we prevented the food crisis from deepening further.”

Turkiye will soon convene the Food Safety Working Group to contribute to global food security, he added.

“We are of the opinion that any steps that may disturb the peace in the Black Sea and escalate the tension in the region should be avoided,” Erdogan stressed.