The Turkish and Russian presidents met in Sochi where they also agreed on sending free grain shipments to African nations in need.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on 4 September told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that the two nations need to move forward with using national currencies for bilateral trade.
“I believe that the fact that the heads of our central banks will meet here today is important from the point of view of a step towards the transition to national currencies in bilateral relations between us,” the Turkish president stated during a meeting with Putin in the city of Sochi.
For his part, Putin noted that the pace of trade development between Moscow and Ankara “remains positive” and that economic cooperation is diversifying beyond the traditional sectors such as agriculture and energy.
“We are very pleased that the volume of our bilateral trade is currently $62 billion, and we are moving towards our goal of $100 billion,” Erdogan said in response.
During the meeting, Putin also announced that Moscow is close to finalizing an agreement to facilitate free grain exports from Russia to six African nations with the help of Turkiye and Qatar.
“We are close to completing agreements with six African states, where we intend to supply foodstuffs for free and even carry out delivery and logistics for free … Deliveries will begin in the next couple of weeks,” Putin said.
Under the deal, Russia will supply up to 1 million metric tons of grain to countries most in need. The grain will be sent to Turkiye for processing before being shipped to the African nations with funding from Qatar.
Putin faced criticism for withdrawing from the Black Sea grain deal a month ago, which Russia had reached with Ukraine and western nations after war erupted between Moscow and Kiev in February 2022.
The UN and Turkiye-brokered deal facilitated the safe export of wheat from Ukraine’s southern port cities on the Black Sea amid price spikes that threatened to cause a global food shortage. Russia and Ukraine are the world’s largest wheat exporters.
Russia’s wheat exports were hampered by US and EU economic sanctions imposed on Moscow after the war began. The grain deal included western guarantees to facilitate the export of Russian wheat and fertilizers, which are also crucial for keeping world food prices low.
However, Russia withdrew from the grain deal last month, accusing western countries of failing to honor their commitments in the agreement. Moscow also complained that most Ukrainian wheat was exported to Europe rather than poorer nations.
During his meeting with Erdogan in Sochi on Monday, Putin stressed Russia’s readiness for talks on the grain initiative.
“We will be ready to consider the possibility of reviving the grain deal,” he said. “And we will do it as soon as all the agreements on lifting restrictions on Russian agricultural exports are fully implemented.”
Erdogan remains committed to reviving the grain deal, which he stated could serve as the basis for broader peace talks to end the war.
“We believe that the [grain] initiative should be continued by eliminating its shortcomings,” Erdoğan noted.
“In this context, we have prepared a new proposal package in consultation with the U.N. I believe that it is possible to get results. I believe that a solution that will meet Turkiye’s expectations will be reached soon.”
Though a NATO member, Turkiye has remained neutral in the war and has played a crucial role in attempting to end the conflict through negotiations. NATO has provided significant weapons and funding to allow Ukraine to continue fighting Russia despite heavy casualties among Ukrainian soldiers.
Several prominent US officials have expressed satisfaction that Washington can weaken Russia at a small cost by supporting Ukraine. They say the US benefits because US soldiers are not fighting and dying, but rather Ukrainians.
mforinocohttps://orinocotribune.com/author/mforinoco/September 23, 2023
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