By Countercurrents Collective
The Grain Deal made between Russia and Ukraine this year, and brokered by Turkiye and the UN is not working now. The collapse of the deal known as the Black Sea Grain Initiative is a threat to food security of developing countries and a pressure on the world grain market pushing food prices high, which is making life of the millions of poor very hard. Russian President Putin and Turkish President Erdogan have talked about the deal in Russian resort city of Sochi Monday.
Media reports said:
The West lied to Russia when it stated that the humanitarian goal of the Black Sea initiative was to deliver Ukrainian grain to the poorest countries in the world, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed on Monday.
70% To EU And Wealthy Countries And 3% For The Most Needy Countries
Speaking at a press conference following a meeting with Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi, Putin stated that over 70% of the grain shipped out of Ukrainian ports as part of the agreement had ended up in the EU and other wealthy nations. “The share recived by the countries most in need of food accounted for only 3%. That is less than 1 million tons,” Putin said.
The Russian President alleged that while Russia had provided security guarantees for grain shipments, “the other side” had used the humanitarian corridors to conduct terrorist attacks against Russian civilian and military facilities.
The grain deal initially came into effect in July 2022, and while Russia had ensured the safety of grain corridors from Ukrainian ports, Ukraine has since repeatedly conducted terrorist attacks, conducting drone raids on various Russian targets in the Black Sea. That includes attacks on cargo ships, Russia’s Black Sea Fleet headquarters in the port city of Sevastopol, and the Crimean Bridge which connects the Crimean peninsula with mainland Russia. “This cannot be tolerated longer,” Putin said on Monday.
Russia terminated its participation in the initiative in mid-July after accusing the West of failing to honor its obligations under the agreement. The deal was meant to facilitate the delivery of Ukrainian grain to world markets in exchange for lifting Western sanctions on Russia’s agricultural exports. Moscow has argued that the restrictions on its products have remained in place and has said that it will not return to the deal until the US and EU fulfill their end of the bargain.
The Russian leader insisted that Moscow had effectively been “forced” to terminate its participation in the grain deal, accusing the West of refusing to uphold its end of the bargain and lift sanctions on the export of Russian fertilizer and other agricultural products.
Putin also said the deal had failed to resolve the global food crisis due to series issues in the fair distribution of grain.
Moscow Will Consider Reinstating The Deal
However, if the U.S. and EU fulfill all their obligations and remove these restrictions, Moscow will consider reinstating the treaty, Putin said.
Russia’s “principled position” on the matter remains unchanged, Putin said during a joint press conference with Erdogan.
Russia is ready to “immediately” resume the deal once “all the agreements set out in that deal on lifting the Restrictions on the export of Russian agricultural produce are fully implemented,” Putin added.
Russia’s Food And Fertilizer Export Will Continue
Putin said Russia will continue to export food and fertilizer products to improve the situation with the global agricultural industry.
Putin said regardless of the deal, Russia remains committed to exporting fertilizer and other agricultural products in order to stabilize the world market. He announced that Moscow intends to send 1 million tons of grain at a “preferential price” for processing in Türkiye and the subsequent free transportation to the poorest nations of the world.
Putin said Moscow hopes that this initiative will receive support from the government of Qatar, which has also expressed its willingness to help developing countries.
Russia’s Free Agricultural Products To 6 African States
Putin said Russia is close to finalizing a deal with six African states about the free delivery of agricultural products, noting that negotiations are in their final stages and that shipments could begin in several weeks.
The announcement comes following reports that the UN has suggested reconnecting Russia’s agricultural lender Rosselkhozbank to the SWIFT interbank messaging system, in an effort to revive the Black Sea grain deal.
Türkiye has been trying to revive the initiative by calling on the West to keep to its promises and calling for the scope of the deal to be expanded.
Turkish President Erdogan confirmed during the press conference that Türkiye is willing to support this initiative and will send flour made from Russian grain to poor countries.
Erdogan revealed that a “package of consultations with the UN” was in the works.
Turkiye will soon report to the UN on the results of talks between the Turkish and Russian presidents, Turkiye’s diplomatic source said Tuesday.
Closed Door Meeting
Monday’s discussions between Putin and Erdogan included a closed-door meeting between Russian and Turkish delegations, and direct negotiations between the leaders of the two countries. The talks revolved around various international and bilateral issues, with Russia’s president stating that the meetings were “quite productive.”
Russia-Turkiye Economic Ccooperation
The two leaders confirmed that Russia and Türkiye are set to continue work on various economic projects, including creation of a regional natural gas hub, a legal regulatory framework for the hub activity, and developing the process for trade and transfer of imported gas,” the Russian president revealed.
Putin said: “I want to emphasize that Russia has always been and will be a reliable, responsible gas supplier. We will continue to provide the Turkish economy with this cheap but highly efficient and environment friendly fuel. We are ready to export gas to third countries that are interested in it through Turkiye.”
The two countries are also planning to strengthen their cooperation in the nuclear energy field, with Moscow and Ankara now discussing potential construction of a new power plant in the Turkish Black Sea city of Sinop, Erdogan revealed.
Erdogan expressed confidence that continuous cooperation and “close contacts” between Moscow and Ankara will contribute to regional stability and global security alike.
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5 September 2023