| 13 April 2024, Saturday |

Erdogan says Türkiye to continue grain deal efforts after Russia hesitates

Türkiye will continue its efforts for the Black Sea grain export deal despite Russian hesitancy, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday after Moscow suspended its participation in the initiative at the weekend.

“Even if Russia behaves hesitantly because it didn’t receive the same benefits, we will continue decisively our efforts to serve humanity,” Erdogan said in a speech.

Moscow blamed Kyiv for an attack on its Black Sea fleet and on Saturday pulled out of a deal to allow Ukrainian grain shipments for an “indefinite term”.

Russia and Ukraine are among the world’s biggest food exporters, and a Russian blockade of Ukrainian grain shipments caused a global food crisis earlier this year.

“Our effort to deliver this wheat to countries facing the threat of starvation is evident. With the joint mechanism that we established in Istanbul, we contributed to the relief of a global food crisis,” Erdogan said, adding the deal had already provided 9.3 million tons of food to world markets.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Monday that his country would continue implementing the grain deal “as we have agreed” with the United Nations and Türkiye.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu that Moscow should re-evaluate the suspension of its participation in the deal.

A readout from Türkiye’s Defense Ministry of a phone call between the two ministers said Akar told Shoigu that it was very important for the grain deal to continue and added that it should be implemented separately from the conflict in Ukraine.

Separately, a UN spokesperson said the first of 40 planned ship inspections on Monday had been completed in Istanbul waters with a team of just UN and Turkish members, rather than the previous four-member teams including Russians and Ukrainians before Moscow’s suspension.

Twelve vessels embarked from Ukrainian ports under the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Ukrainian Infrastructure Minster Oleksandr Kubrakov confirmed.

“Today 12 ships left Ukrainian ports. @UN & Turkish delegations provide 10 inspection teams to inspect 40 ships aiming to fulfil the #BlackSeaGrainInitiative. This inspection plan has been accepted by the Ukrainian delegation. The Russian delegation has been informed,” Kubrakov wrote on Twitter.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat