Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that he agrees with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, that the agreement facilitating Ukrainian grain exports from the Black Sea should be extended, which expires next Monday. And he stressed that his government has begun to prepare to receive Putin in Turkey in August.
“We are preparing to receive Putin in Turkey. We have the same opinion on the expansion of the Black Sea grain corridor,” Erdoğan said. After noting that the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, has sent a letter to Putin, he expressed optimism that Moscow will put aside its reluctance and approve a new extension of the so-called “grain agreement”.
“I hope that with this letter, with the joint efforts of us and Russia, we will ensure the expansion of the grain corridor works,” Erdogan responded to a question from a journalist. Erdogan stressed that on previous occasions Putin agreed to extend the pact to alleviate food problems in less developed countries.
Under the mediation of the UN and Ankara, Moscow and kyiv agreed a year ago on measures to ensure that ships loaded with Ukrainian grain can go to the international market from Black Sea ports. The goal was to prevent a global food crisis unleashed by war: Russia and Ukraine are among the world’s largest grain exporters. Russia stated that Moscow sees no reason to extend the agreement: it does not see compliance with the part of the pact that was supposed to facilitate Russian exports of food and fertilizers. Moscow alleges that severe financial sanctions imposed on it by Western powers hinder its exports.