Turkey’s Ziraat could be intermediary to process payments for Russia’s grain exports

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Turkish state lender Ziraat Bank could work as an intermediary to process payments for Russia’s grain exports, a senior Turkish official said on Thursday, adding the United States and the United Nations would need to approve each transaction.

Ziraat would not be involved unless all sides sign off on the agreement, the person said, adding talks were ongoing regarding Russian grain exports.

“Ziraat Bank would be an intermediary to transaction with the written approval and commissioning of the United States and the United Nations, like in the example of JP Morgan,” the official told Reuters.

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“This will not be realized if there is no written approval,” the person added, declining to comment on whether Ziraat could be involved in payments for Russian fertilizer exports.

A deal brokered by the United Nations and Turkey last July, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, allows Ukrainian grain trapped by the conflict to be safely exported from the country’s Black Sea ports.

Russia has a list of demands it wants met for a continuation of the pact, including an easing of payments sanctions on its grain and fertilizer exports.

The deputy defense ministers of Russia, Ukraine and Turkey are due to meet in Istanbul on Friday to discuss the Black Sea deal.

Last week, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had said Ziraat Bank could mediate in payments.

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