Erdogan: No obstacle stands in way of Istanbul grain deal extension

There is no obstacle preventing the extension of a landmark grain export deal, signed four months ago amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, so Russian grain and fertilizer can be shipped to world markets as well, Türkiye's president has said, News.Az reports citing Anadolu Agency. 

"There is no obstacle to extending the shipping agreement. I saw this again in my phone call with (Ukrainian President Volodymyr) Zelenskyy last night and in my meeting with (Russian President Vladimir) Putin. But in the meantime, if there is any blockage, there is no obstacle for us to overcome," Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters on Thursday while returning from a trip to Azerbaijan.

Türkiye, the UN, Russia, and Ukraine signed an agreement in Istanbul on July 22 to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports, which paused after the start of the Russia-Ukraine war in February.

The parties are currently negotiating a possible extension and expansion beyond its Nov. 19 deadline to include Russian grain and fertilizer exports.

Erdogan said that under the deal, more than 8 million tons of Ukrainian grain had been supplied to world markets aboard 363 ships as of Thursday, adding that 62% of Ukrainian shipments had gone to Europe, 19.5% to Asia, 13% to Africa, and 5.3% to Middle Eastern countries.

Türkiye has been in close contact with both Russia and Ukraine since the beginning of the war. Erdogan has repeatedly stressed his wish to bring Putin and Zelenskyy together at the negotiating table in Türkiye to end it.

"We are not hopeless. It is our hope that we will continue on the road for peace by bringing the two leaders together," he added.


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