Erdogan, Putin agree to send Russian grain to Africa for free
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Friday pledged to send grain and fertilizers to poor African countries after he agreed on the matter in a phone call with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
Turkey and Russia have reached a consensus on making more use of the grain corridor in the Black Sea, especially for those in need in Africa, Erdogan said, urging to take concrete steps at the upcoming G-20 summit in Indonesia.
"In my phone call with Vladimir Putin, he said 'Let's send this grain to countries such as Djibouti, Somalia and Sudan for free' - and we agreed," Erdogan said in a speech to businesspeople in Istanbul.
The comment came after Moscow resumed on Wednesday its participation in the U.N. and Turkey-brokered grain agreement, ending four days of non-cooperation that still saw exports continue from Ukrainian ports.
But Moscow’s return to grain agreement doesn’t mean an agreement on deal’s extension, the Russian side has yet to evaluate the implementation of the document, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday.
“By the 19th of November, before making a decision on the extension, it will be necessary to provide a general assessment of the effectiveness of its implementation, an assessment of how all the parties to the agreements complied, and then come to decisions,” Peskov explained.
The Kremlin official added that Turkey’s participation in the resumption of the grain deal is the main factor of confidence in the agreements.
"The work that was carried out by Ankara and personally by Turkish diplomats, the military, and President Erdogan is commendable. Turkey's participation in this is the main factor of trust," he said.
Earlier this week, Putin said even if Russia withdrew from the deal again, it would substitute the entire volume of grain destined for the "poorest countries" for free from its own stocks.
On Saturday, TASS news agency cited Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev saying that Russia was ready to supply up to 500,000 tonnes of grain free of charge to poor countries in the next four months, with assistance from Turkey.