Türkİye, World, Russia-Ukraine War

Turkish foreign minister says new UN proposals could revive Black Sea grain deal

July 2022 agreement 'extremely important' for global food security, peace in Black Sea region, Fidan says in joint briefing with Lavrov

Muhammed Enes Çallı  | 31.08.2023 - Update : 01.09.2023
Turkish foreign minister says new UN proposals could revive Black Sea grain deal Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan


A new package of proposals prepared by the UN with Türkiye's contributions could revive the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said on Thursday.

Speaking at a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow, Fidan said: "We think this is the appropriate ground for the revival" of the July 2022 deal.

He said Türkiye's efforts to revive the Black Sea grain deal will continue, adding: "This agreement is extremely important both for world's food security, and the stability and peace in the Black Sea."

"Today, we held intensive consultations on both bilateral and regional issues. The revival of the Black Sea initiative was high on our agenda," Fidan noted, highlighting the sense of trust between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, which he said played a crucial role in determining the direction of bilateral ties.

"We stressed the critical role of the (Black Sea) initiative for both global food security and stability in the Black Sea region," he added.

Fidan pointed to Moscow's demands for the uninterrupted export of Russian grain and fertilizer, noting that the need to meet them was reaffirmed on Thursday.

He also said the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war continued to rise exponentially. "The course of the war also occupied an important place on our agenda."

While a very complex and laborious task, Fidan stressed that they were also working to establish a more permanent deal for Black Sea grain exports.

Responding to a question about Türkiye's efforts to revive the Black Sea grain deal, Fidan emphasized that Ankara, and especially President Erdogan, has been in contact with all the interlocutors on the issue.

He said opportunities that may arise to make progress on reviving the initiative were being scrutinized, with the UN particularly engaged with important activities on the matter.

"Mr. (UN Secretary-General) Antonio Guterres, his team and our friends are in intensive contact. In particular, there is a process at the moment trying to better understand and meet Russia's position and demands."

Türkiye is continuing its efforts to revive the grain deal, and has argued that there is no other alternative.

On July 17, Russia suspended its participation in the deal, brokered by Türkiye and the UN, to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports that were paused after the Ukraine war in February 2022.

Moscow has repeatedly complained that the West has not met its obligations regarding Russia's own grain exports. It says restrictions on payments, logistics, and insurance have been a barrier to its shipments.  

Bilateral ties

Fidan also expressed his gratitude to Russia for their solidarity after twin devastating earthquakes hit southern Türkiye on Feb. 6 and for the two firefighting planes they sent to help quell forest fires.

Emphasizing that Türkiye and Russia have a long history of relations, Fidan emphasized that they are always in touch on bilateral and regional issues.

Stressing the importance of the dialogue between Türkiye and Russia for the region, he said there were strong channels of communication between them.

Türkiye has never given up on its goal of ending the conflict between Russia and Ukraine through diplomatic means, Fidan said. "We want to establish permanent peace and stability in our region. I reiterated these expectations during our meeting with Mr. Lavrov."

"I confirmed that we are ready to provide all the support we can."

Fidan said they made general assessments on various issues including on the economy, energy, tourism, and consular relations, and that he also raised the condition of Crimean Tatars during the meeting.

"We discussed what we can do to advance our cooperation within the national and international obligations of our country. We stressed the importance of the two countries working together in the fight against terrorism."

Fidan also stated that he and Lavrov also discussed regional and international issues.

"We compared our perspectives on the developments in Syria, Central Asia, Africa, the Caucasus, and these geographies, which are important for our countries."

Noting that his visit to Moscow was also in preparation for a future meeting between Erdogan and Putin, Fidan said he and Lavrov would continue to consult with each other in the future and that he would meet with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu on Friday.

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