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Turkey’s Erdogan emphasises importance of grain deal in Putin call

Turkey’s Erdogan emphasises importance of grain deal in Putin call
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) shake hands during a meeting on the sidelines of the 22nd Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Heads of State Council (SCO-HSC) Summit, in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, 16 September 2022. The SCO is an international alliance founded in 2001 in Shanghai and composed of China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and four Observer States interested in acceding to full membership - Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia. EPA-EFE/ALEXANDR DEMYANCHUK/SPUTNIK/KREMLIN POOL MANDATORY CREDIT

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan emphasised the importance of avoiding steps that could jeopardise the resumption of the Black Sea grain initiative in talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, Erdogan's office said.

The two leaders also agreed that Putin would visit Turkey, the Turkish presidency’s statement said, without giving a date. A senior Turkish official said that discussions between Ankara and Moscow are ongoing for a visit in late August.

Russia quit the deal that had allowed the safe Black Sea export of Ukraine grain on July 17 and has since attackedUkrainian agricultural and port infrastructure.

Moscow has repeatedly said that it was ready to return to the deal “immediately” once an accompanying agreement concerning Russia was implemented.

Erdogan said last month he hoped Putin’s planned visit could lead to the restoration of the Black Sea grain deal, and called on Western countries to consider Russia’s demands.

Moscow exited the deal complaining that the international community had failed to ensure that Russia could also freely export its grain and fertiliser.

“President Erdogan expressed the importance of refraining from steps that could escalate tensions during the Russia-Ukraine war, emphasizing the significance of the Black Sea initiative, which he described as a bridge of peace,” the Turkish presidency’s statement added.

(Reporting by Ece Toksabay, Huseyin Hayatsever, Ezgi Erkoyun and Orhan Coskun;Editing by Daren Butler, Christina Fincher and Philippa Fletcher)

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