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Erdogan says he's in agreement with Putin on grain deal extension

by Dinara Khalilova July 14, 2023 5:19 PM 2 min read
A vessel is seen in the port upon arriving under the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Odesa, southern Ukraine. (Yulii Zozulia / Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
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Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on July 14 that he and Russian dictator Vladimir Putin were "of the same mind" on the extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Turkish state-run Anadolu news outlet reported.

"(UN Secretary-General Antonio) Guterres sent a letter to Putin. I hope that with this letter, we assure the extension of the grain corridor deal with the joint efforts of us and Russia," Erdogan told reporters, as cited by Anadolu.

Erdogan added that Turkey was preparing for the Russian dictator's visit in August.

Russia has threatened not to prolong the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which allows Ukraine to continue exporting its agricultural products, unless the West eases its restrictions against Russia's grain and fertilizers exports. The current agreed-upon extension period is set to expire on July 17.

Erdogan wants to extend grain deal for another 3 months
The Black Sea Grain Initiative, allowing Ukraine to continue exporting its grain amid Russia’s full-scale war, was prolonged on May 17, and is due to expire on July 18.

On July 13, Putin claimed that none of Moscow's conditions for extending the grain deal had been met, according to the Russian state-controlled news agency Interfax.

Russia's key demand is reconnecting the Kremlin-owned Russian Agricultural Bank to the SWIFT international payment system. The European Union cut the bank from the payment system on June 14 under its sanctions regime over the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The EU is not considering removing that restriction but is weighing an option to connect a subsidiary of Russia's Agricultural Bank to SWIFT, allowing grain and fertilizer transactions, unnamed sources told Reuters and the Financial Times.

Guterres reportedly asked Putin to extend the grain deal for several months to give the EU time to arrange the scheme.

Turkey and the UN brokered the grain deal in July 2022. Russia's all-out war against Ukraine, one of the world's top grain exporters, initially prevented Ukraine from shipping agricultural products through its Black Sea ports.

Agriculture Minister: Russia’s grain corridor sabotage could lead to higher food prices
Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. Russia’s blockage of Ukrainian seaports triggered a global food crisis. The global food crisis was partially resolved in July when an UN-backed grain deal was reached, forcing Russia to unblock three ports in Odesa Oblast for…
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