Türkiye hopeful on renewing of UN-led grain deal with Ukraine, Russia

Türkiye's president to speak to Russian, Ukrainian counterparts about the deal in coming days, Turkish foreign minister announces.

Türkiye hopeful on renewing of UN-led grain deal with Ukraine, Russia

The Turkish foreign minister on Tuesday expressed hope over the renewing of the UN-led grain deal.

Speaking to a group of reporters, Mevlut Cavusoglu announced that Türkiye's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will discuss the grain deal with his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts in the coming days over the phone.

"Our President is personally dealing with this matter. We believe that it (deal) will be settled down," the Turkish minister added.

Noting that roadblocks in front of the deal should be removed for grain shipments to continue, Cavusoglu further affirmed Ankara's efforts in this direction.

Voicing "hopes" for this process to be settled down soon, Cavusoglu also cited Turkish National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar's contacts with his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts.

The Turkish foreign minister also reminded that he spoke to his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Monday about the grain deal and that Lavrov told him about the continued blocks ahead of exporting Russian grain and fertilizers.

"He (Lavrov) told me that they have written a letter to the UN Secretary General (Antonio Guterres) regarding this (export of Russian grain and fertilizers). They will also send a copy of the letter to us," Cavusoglu added.

Affirming that Ankara is following the process on the grain deal with the UN, Cavusoglu said there is currently no issue regarding the current grain-laden ships that left the ports under the initial deal.

"But for it to continue later on, problems must be solved," he said, noting that "concrete steps should be taken to remove any obstacles on (exporting of) Russian grain and fertilizers as agreed initially."

The Turkish foreign minister further noted that the grain deal is beneficial to the entire world, especially to developing countries and least developed countries.

"As it concerns all people across the globe, it is necessary to keep this matter separate from the war (on Ukraine), and if there are any operational issues then it should be resolved all together," he stressed.

On Saturday, Russia announced that it had suspended its participation in the deal to export Ukrainian grain following attacks on its Black Sea Fleet.

On Monday, the Istanbul-based Joint Coordination Center, which oversees shipments under the deal, said the three delegations representing the maritime elements of Russia, Türkiye, and Ukraine also agreed on inspections to be conducted on 40 outbound vessels. The Russian side was informed of the development, it also said.

Türkiye, the UN, Russia, and Ukraine signed an agreement on July 22 in Istanbul to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports which were paused after the Russia-Ukraine war began in February.

Asked about Türkiye becoming a gas hub as previously suggested by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Cavusoglu said the energy ministries of each country are working on it.

Technical works are ongoing regarding the matter, Cavusoglu said, adding that they are working on determining the demand, especially from Europe.

Last month, on the sidelines of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia summit in the Kazakh capital Astana, Erdogan held a closed-door meeting with Putin, who had proposed building a natural gas hub in Türkiye.

After the meeting, Erdogan announced that Ankara and Moscow will work jointly on building a natural gas hub in Türkiye's Thrace region after a Russian proposal.