Ukraine should ‘soften its stance’ on Black Sea grain deal — Erdogan

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Following talks with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin in Sochi on Sept. 4, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ukraine should adopt a more flexible stance on the terms of the Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI) in order to bring Russia back to the table and revive the deal.

Erdogan reiterated that Ankara is ready to facilitate peace talks between Russia and Ukraine. He also believes that Ukraine needs to “soften” its stance and make joint steps with Russia within the framework of the grain agreement.

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“As President Putin pointed out, especially here in this situation, Ukraine, in tandem with Russia, needs to soften its approach in terms of joint steps, particularly at this time," said Erdogan.

He stressed that no effective alternatives to the Black Sea grain agreement are available. Turkey has also prepared a new package of proposals to restore the grain agreement and is hopeful for a positive outcome.

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He added that the "Black Sea [grain] corridor would serve the poorest countries who will receive this grain."

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Russia officially terminated its participation in the BSGI on July 17, which had previously allowed Ukrainian grain export through the Black Sea to countries at risk of food insecurity. Officially, Russia alleged that its unilateral withdrawal from the agreement was due to Ukrainian attacks on the Kerch Bridge, which connects occupied Crimea to Russian mainland.

Erdogan later said that Turkey is ready to offer Russia a deal to process Russian grain coming through the corridor into flour and send it to developing countries.

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