ANKARA — Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday that the revival of a vital Black Sea grain deal that allowed Ukrainian grain to reach world markets depends on Western capitals' fulfilling their responsibilities.
In televised remarks in Ankara, Erdogan said his country’s contacts with relevant parties to revive the deal from which Russia withdrew on July 17 would continue. “Undoubtedly, settlement of this standoff without further complication depends on the Western countries’ fulfillment of their promises. Over the past, unfortunately, the ‘agreements must be kept’ principle has not been abided by,” he said. “No diplomatic steps have been taken to translate the positive atmosphere that emerged by the Black Sea initiative into first a cease-fire and then to permanent peace.”
Russia refused to extend the key deal — which was brokered by Turkey and the United Nations — after it expired last month.
Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which allowed Ukrainian foodstuff, most importantly its grain, to reach world markets, resulted in skyrocketing global grain prices amid international warnings over a looming food crisis and even a potential famine. In addition to more than 40 countries that are dependent on grain exports from Ukraine, more than 655,000 tons of the product were shipped to impoverished communities that face food insecurity across the world, including Ethiopia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia and Kenya, according to the UN World Food Program.