Espreso. Global

Turkey's and Russia's FMs meet in Moscow to discuss Ukraine war, grain deal

31 August, 2023 Thursday

Turkish and Russian foreign ministers meet in Moscow ahead of Erdogan's meeting with Putin to discuss the grain deal and peace in Ukraine

This was reported by CNN Turk.

At a joint press conference, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said that the grain deal was high on the agenda of the meeting and added: "Turkey is making great efforts to renew the agreement."

Emphasizing that the grain deal is extremely important for both global food security and stability and peace in the Black Sea, Minister Fidan said: "We are carefully considering the opportunities that may arise to take serious steps on this issue. The UN is actively working on an agreement. Our friends are in touch with Guterres and his team."

He stressed that the negotiations are very difficult:

"It is a very complicated process. There are so many details. We discussed these issues with the minister and his team. When our president, Mr Erdogan, and Mr Putin meet, they will discuss this issue in more detail. Our work will continue, and this agreement is extremely important for both global food security and the stability of the Black Sea."

Fidan added that Turkey will continue to mediate peace talks in Ukraine when the conditions are right.

Minister Fidan said that today's visit is a preparation for the planned meeting between President Erdogan and Russian President Putin in Sochi. He also said that he would meet with Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu tomorrow.

In turn, Sergei Lavrov said that he had discussed the situation around Ukraine in detail with the Turkish Foreign Minister and explained the impossibility of promoting the Zelenskyy formula, TASS reports.

At the same time, according to the foreign minister, Russia "brought to the Turkish side an understanding of what the West must do to restore the 'grain deal'".

Lavrov emphasized that he had discussed with Fidan the supply of 1 million tonnes of Russian grain to Turkey at a reduced price, i.e. an alternative "grain deal" without Ukraine's participation with guarantees from Qatar. In this context, Lavrov noted that the new proposals for a grain deal from the UN chief did not contain guarantees.

He also recalled the old thesis that "the West does not want to show a constructive approach to Russia's conditions for the grain deal, only promises are made".

Operation of the 'grain corridor'

On July 17, Russia announced the termination of the grain deal. In response, Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that it was necessary to continue using the grain corridor even despite Russia's withdrawal from the agreement. 

On July 30, despite the completion of the grain deal, three civilian cargo ships of foreign origin passed the Russian blockade in the Black Sea and anchored in one of Ukraine's grain ports in the Danube Delta.

Southern African countries are trying to convince Russia to return to negotiations on an agreement on the safe export of grain from Black Sea ports, which it abandoned last month. 

On August 2, the United States said it had information that Russia was interested in resuming negotiations on the agreement, which ensured safe Black Sea grain exports.

Erdogan also announced an agreement with Putin on a visit to Turkey to discuss the extension of the grain deal.

On August 9, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced his intention to resume the grain deal with an “expanded scope” and called on Western countries to “fulfill their promises”.

On August 10, the Ukrainian Navy announced a temporary humanitarian corridor for merchant ships sailing to and from Ukrainian ports.

On August 16, the first vessel left the port of Odesa after Russia announced that it will terminate the grain deal on July 16, 2023.

On August 26, the second vessel left the port of Odesa after Russia announced the termination of the grain deal on July 16, 2023.

On August 31, Ukraine's Foreign Ministry said that supporting the export of grain from Russia without restoring Ukrainian exports will encourage Moscow to continue its aggression. The ministry expects Turkey to prevent this.

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