President Vladimir Putin says Russia welcomes negotiations on restoring the crucial Black Sea grain export deal to mitigate the impact of food crisis.
The Russian president was meeting with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Monday.
Russia withdrew from the deal in July. The agreement was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey, and Moscow says an attack on a Russian base in Crimea was to blame for the withdrawal.
Under the deal, grain shipments were allowed to leave Ukraine’s ports.
During the meeting with Erdogan, Putin said, “I know you intend to raise the issue of the grain deal. We are open to negotiations on this issue.”
The Russian leader has said Moscow could return to the deal if the West fulfils a separate memorandum agreed with the UN to facilitate Russian food and fertilizer exports.
Moscow has said restrictions on payments, logistics and insurance have hindered shipments of Russian food and fertilizer.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has already sent Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov “a set of concrete proposals” aimed at reviving the deal, according to the Guterres office.
The Turkish leader also said on Monday he would make a “very important” announcement on grain exports.
Erdogan was a key player in brokering the grain deal. He said in August that the revival of the agreement depends on Western countries keeping “their promises.”
Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said the circumstances surrounding the deal did not live up to Moscow’s expectations.
The Russian state television said in its report on the Erdogan meeting in Sochi that promises made to Russia must be implemented this time around.
Russia has also been discussing an initiative to supply up to one million tons of grain to Turkey at reduced prices for subsequent processing at Turkish plants and shipping to countries most in need.
Russia and Ukraine are two of the world's key agricultural producers.
The duo are influential players in the wheat, barley, maize, rapeseed, rapeseed oil, sunflower seed and sunflower oil markets.
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