Erdogan says he believes Putin wants grain deal to continue

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin wants the continuation of a deal allowing the export of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea, after Moscow suspended its participation.

Erdogan added that he hoped for progress on the issue after Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov talk on Monday.

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The grain deal, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey last July, aimed to alleviate a global food crisis by allowing Ukrainian grain blocked by the Russia-Ukraine conflict to be exported safely.

Russia suspended its participation in the deal on Monday, the Kremlin said, adding that the part of the agreement concerning Russia had not been implemented.

“Despite the statement made today, I believe Russian President Putin wants the continuation of this humanitarian bridge,” Erdogan said, adding that the two men would speak on Erdogan’s return from his trip to Gulf countries on Wednesday.

“We will also discuss how we can act to open the way for the transport of Russian fertilizer and grain,” Erdogan said, adding the two leaders would meet in person in Turkey in August.

The grain deal has been extended several times but was due to expire on Monday. Russia has been saying for months that conditions for its extension had not been fulfilled.

Moscow has long complained that obstacles remained to its exports of grain and fertilizer, even though these were not directly sanctioned by the West, and presented a series of demands that it said had not been met.

Moscow said it would return to the agreement as soon as the Russian part of the agreement is fulfilled.

Read more:

Turkey’s Erdogan to begin Gulf tour by visiting Saudi Arabia on Monday

Russia suspends Black Sea grain deal, hours after Crimean bridge explosion

Ukrainian media reports cite sources saying Kyiv behind Crimea bridge incident

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