Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. But the two of them did not discuss Russia-Ukraine peace.
Moscow and Ankara will discuss the possibility of Russia’s return to the “Black Sea Grain Deal”. Russia’s exit from the agreement in July, made Ukraine’s food vulnerable to attack by Russian missiles and escalated a global food crisis.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed this. He said talks with Erdogan would take place at noon Moscow time.
Türkiye also said the same thing. Erdoğan’s chief foreign and security policy adviser, Akif Cagatay Kilic, called it in an interview on the A Haber television channel.
“The current status (of the wheat deal) will be discussed at a summit meeting on Monday,” he was quoted as saying ReutersMonday (4/9/2023).
“We are cautious, but we hope to achieve success,” said Kilic.
The Black Sea Grain Agreement aims to get wheat from Ukraine to world markets via the Black Sea. This was initially done to defuse a global food crisis which according to the UN has been exacerbated by Russia’s massive invasion of Ukraine in February last year.
Russia and Ukraine are the world’s two major agricultural producers. They are major players in the grain market, barleycorn, rapeseedoil rapeseedsunflower seeds, and sunflower oil.
Putin has repeatedly said that Western countries were to blame for Russia’s “departure” from the agreement. The West, he said, had failed to implement a separate memorandum agreed with the United Nations regarding the waiver of sanctions for its commodities.
One of Moscow’s main demands is for the Agricultural Bank of Russia to reconnect to the SWIFT international payment system. It was discontinued by the European Union in June 2022.
But Putin also said Russia could return to the deal. Especially if the West fulfills its commitments in the deal.
On the other hand, Putin had given the initiative to Turkey to independently supply up to 1 million tons of Russian grain. Russian commodities will be processed by Turkish factories and sent to countries that need them most.
For Russia, Erdogan is the main intermediary and a person who has a good reputation in Putin’s eyes. This is their first face-to-face meeting since October.
Before the Meeting
Putin said Russia was “open” to talks on restoring a Black Sea grain export agreement, hours after Moscow shelled one of Ukraine’s main grain exporting ports.
“I know you intend to raise the issue of the grain deal. We are open to negotiations on this issue,” Putin said in televised comments alongside Erdogan.
Meanwhile, Erdogan said he would make a “very important” announcement regarding Ukraine’s wheat exports after meeting Putin.
“I believe that the message that will be conveyed at the press conference after our meeting will be very important for the world, especially for the underdeveloped countries of Africa,” Erdogan said opening his meeting with Putin.
Erdogan, who was accompanied by a large delegation that included Turkey’s defense, foreign, energy and finance ministers, held his first face-to-face meeting with Putin since his re-election in May.
Erdogan said his government wanted to increase annual trade with Russia to US$100 billion from US$62 billion, adding that he supported Moscow’s efforts to convert some of that trade into lira and denominations.
“I believe the switch to local currency is very important in bilateral relations,” said Erdogan.
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