Leaders’ diplomacy resolved grain deadlock: Erdoğan
The leaders’ level of diplomacy yields results in resolving the crisis between Ukraine and Russia, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Wednesday noting that Ankara would take further steps regarding the Ukraine grain deal soon.
“Personal relationships are the most important and productive steps in diplomacy. Without it, you cannot take these fruitful steps. We talked about this with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin. This is what we call leader diplomacy. Not everyone can be such a leader,” he said in a televised interview with ATV broadcaster.
Erdoğan said he talked to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday evening and Russian President Putin on Tuesday to resolve the grain deadlock, and that this step will be expanded.
The grain export deal will prioritize African countries, as agreed with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Erdoğan stated.
“The situation in Djibouti, Somalia and Sudan is not good at all. If there is a problem in any other less developed countries, we will carry out shipments to these countries,” Erdoğan said.
In the telephone call, Zelensky “thanked [Erdoğan] for his active participation in preserving the grain deal,” the Ukrainian leader wrote on Twitter following Turkish efforts to revive the agreement which has played a crucial role in easing a global food crisis sparked by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Meanwhile, six grain ships left Ukraine’s ports on Nov. 3, a day after Russia rejoined a deal to allow exports through the Black Sea, Türkiye’s defense minister said.
“After the resumption of the grain initiative, six ships left Ukrainian ports,” Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said adding that the number of ships leaving Ukraine’s ports exceeded 426, and the amount of grain transported exceeded 9.7 million tons.
“Now, we will intensify our efforts on the extension of the grain initiative, which will expire on Nov. 19,” Akar emphasized. He noted that Ankara aims to establish a ceasefire to end the conflict with peaceful means and methods.
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko said Moscow has yet to decide if it would remain part of the deal after Nov. 18. The agreement was due to be renewed on Nov. 19, but the extension is “a separate issue” and that decision will be made “taking into account all the accompanying factors,” state news agency RIA Novosti reported him as saying.
Moscow had said on Saturday that it was temporarily pulling out of the grain deal, accusing Ukraine of using a safe shipping corridor established under the agreement to launch a drone assault on its Black Sea fleet.
Türkiye and the United Nations - who brokered the July deal - engaged in intense diplomacy to save the agreement designed to ease the global food crisis caused by the Russian war in Ukraine.
Russia’s defense ministry said on Wednesday it had received sufficient guarantees from Kiev that it would not use the maritime corridor to carry out attacks. It said Ukraine guaranteed “the non-use of the humanitarian corridor and Ukrainian ports determined in the interests of the export of agricultural products for conducting military operations against the Russian Federation.”
World grain prices, which had soared earlier this week, had begun to ease on Wednesday after Russia announced it was returning to the deal, despite doubts over its future.