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Turkish ambassador: Black Sea grain deal possible to restore

by Martin Fornusek October 20, 2023 9:48 AM 1 min read
A ship moored in the Black Sea port of Odesa within the framework of the grain corridor, on Feb. 20, 2023, in southern Ukraine. Image for illustrative purposes only. (Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
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Turkey believes that the Black Sea Grain Initiative can be restored, and Anakara is working with all relevant players to achieve that result, Turkish Ambassador to Ukraine Yagmur Ahmet Guldere told Ukrinform on Oct. 19.

"We believe that the grain deal can be revived... As you know, the initiative became a reality thanks to Turkey's cooperation with the UN, Ukraine, and Russia," the ambassador said in the interview.

"Our communication with all these players is ongoing. We are also in contact with other parties who may play a role in restoring the agreement."

The ambassador noted that certain concessions to Russia may have to be taken, such as reconnecting the Russian Agricultural Bank to the SWIFT payment system, in order to restore the grain deal. Russian President Vladimir Putin named reconnecting the Kremlin-owned bank to SWIFT as one of Russia's conditions for restarting the deal.

"I don't think that this means a relaxation of the so-called sanctions regime," Guldere said.

"By taking this step, we will move toward the restoration of the grain corridor, which will also be beneficial to Ukraine," he added, noting that reviving the deal is also important for the global food supply.

The grain deal, first brokered by Turkey and the UN in July 2022, allowed Ukraine to export its grain even amid the ongoing full-scale Russian invasion. Moscow unilaterally terminated the deal in July 2023 and subsequently intensified its attacks against Ukraine's ports and agriculture infrastructure.

Ukraine launched a new Black Sea corridor in August. While presenting it as a temporary route mainly for humanitarian purposes, several cargo ships carrying grain have sailed along the new corridor to and from Odesa ports.

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