Erdogan says Turkey to continue grain deal efforts
Turkey will continue its efforts to find a solution to the global food crisis, as it has done so far, despite Russia's withdrawal from a UN-backed deal, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday.
"Even if Russia behaves hesitantly because it didn't receive the same benefits, we will continue decisively our efforts to serve humanity," Erdogan said in a speech during a congress in Istanbul.
Russia on Saturday pulled out of a key grain deal brokered by the UN and Turkey, accusing Ukraine of a drone attack on the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, Crimea.
Russia's defense ministry said drones used in the attack targeted ships involved in the grain deal.
Russia and Ukraine are among the world's biggest food exporters, and a Russian blockade of Ukrainian grain shipments caused a global food crisis earlier this year.
"With the joint mechanism that we have ensured to be established in Istanbul, we have provided a relative reduction in the food crisis by offering 9.3 million tons of Ukrainian wheat to the service of the world," Erdogan said.
Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement brokered by the UN and Turkey on July 22 in Istanbul to resume Black Sea grain exports, which were paused after the Russia-Ukraine war began in February. A Joint Coordination Center with officials from the three countries and the UN has been set up in Istanbul to oversee the shipments.
Earlier on Monday, the United Nations said in a statement that it had agreed with Ukraine and Turkey on a movement plan for 16 vessels on Monday - 12 outbound and 4 inbound, as Turkish defense ministery said Minister Hulusi Amer continued efforts to bring Russia back to table to allow Ukrainian grain to reach world markets.
The statement said the Russian officials at the Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul had been told about the plan, along with the intention to inspect 40 outbound vessels on Monday, and noted that "all participants coordinate with their respective military and other relevant authorities to ensure the safe passage of commercial vessels" under the deal, despite Russia's withdrawal from the pact.