Turkish team to discuss Russia’s Black Sea grain corridor this week – sources


Wheat grain is pictured at a warehouse in Bashtanka, Mykolaiv region, as Russia’s attacks on Ukraine continue, Ukraine June 9, 2022. REUTERS/Edgar su

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ANKARA, June 21 (Reuters) – Ankara’s military delegation will visit Russia this week to discuss details of a possible safe maritime corridor in the Black Sea to export Ukrainian grain, Turkish presidential sources said on Tuesday.

Russian news agency TASS confirmed plans for the talks citing Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine halted Black Sea grain exports from Kyiv, causing global food shortages, though Moscow blames Western sanctions for the crisis. The United Nations has called on the two sides, as well as their maritime neighbor and NATO member Turkey, to agree on a corridor.

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Ankara has so far held talks with Moscow and the UN over the planned corridor, but said any final deal would require all sides to meet in Istanbul, where Turkey said implementation of the plan would be monitored.

The sources said a four-way meeting between Turkey, Ukraine, Russia and the United Nations will be held in Istanbul in the coming weeks, possibly with the participation of President Tayyip Erdogan and the UN Secretary General. Antonio Guterres.

Turkish broadcaster Haberturk also reported earlier on the planned meeting.

The sources said the plan was to create three corridors from the Ukrainian port city of Odessa on the Black Sea under the supervision of Kyiv, and Ukrainian and Russian food products would be shipped from there.

They said 30 to 35 million tonnes of grain could be shipped from there in the next six to eight months.

Asked about the outline of the plan presented by the sources, the UN spokesman, Stephan Dijarric, said that “discussions on these issues are continuing”, without further details.

News of the planned upcoming talks comes a day after Erdogan and Guterres discussed plans for the hallway in a phone call. Erdogan’s office said he told the UN chief that Turkey was “continuing mutual efforts” to establish the corridor.

Ukraine and Russia have set a series of conditions to agree on the plan. Moscow wants certain Western sanctions to be lifted to facilitate its grain and fertilizer exports, while Kyiv is asking for security guarantees for its ports.

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Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu, Daren Butler and Orhan Coskun; Additional reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Jane Merriman and Tomasz Janowski

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