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Erdogan calls for Russia to not be ‘marginalized’ in grain deal

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for Russia not to be “marginalized” in negotiations aimed at restoring a crucial Black Sea grain export deal, stressing that any initiative that isolates Moscow is unlikely to be sustainable.

Erdogan made the remarks in a press briefing after the conclusion of the annual meeting of the Group of 20 (G20) in the Indian capital, New Delhi, on Sunday, where he said the issue of reviving the Black Sea Grain Initiative was discussed in great detail.

“No process that marginalizes Russia on the Black Sea grain initiative will be viable,” he said, adding a meeting is going to be held on the issue between representatives from Russia, Ukraine and the United Nations, without specifying a precise date or location.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, brokered by Turkey and the United Nations on July 22, 2022, allowed for the safe export of grain from Ukraine's Black Sea ports.

Russia withdrew from the deal in July this year, saying its conditions for the agreement were not met. Moscow complained that its agricultural exports faced obstacles and not enough Ukrainian grain was going to countries in need under the grain deal.

It said its grain and fertilizer exports faced barriers in practice because of sanctions by the West affecting port access, insurance, logistics, and payments - including the removal of agricultural bank Rosselkhozbank from SWIFT.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has already said Moscow is ready to return to the deal if as the West met its obligations with regard to Russia's own grain exports.

Russia and Ukraine are two of the world's key agricultural producers. The two are influential players in the wheat, barley, maize, rapeseed, rapeseed oil, sunflower seed, and sunflower oil markets.

More than 24.1 million tons have been exported under the Black Sea Grain Initiative, according to the United Nations.

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