Erdogan emphasises importance of grain import deal with Zelensky

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky discussed the resumption of the Black Sea Grain Initiative. The agreement a allows the export of grain from designated Black Sea ports.

During the phone conversation Mr Erdogan expressed his delight that the two countries had resolved the issue around grain shipments through cooperation the Turkish Presidency said in a statement.

The statement added that while it was vital for the world that Russia and Ukraine could sell their grain shipments Mr Erdogan emphasised the continuation of the grain shipment agreement.

Writing on Twitter Mr Zelensky thanked Mr Erdogan for his efforts on the grain deal and support for Ukraine.

He said: “I thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his active participation in preserving the grain deal, for his steadfast support of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

Mr Zelensky added that he is hoping for Turkish support in terms of securing the return of Ukrainian prisoners of war and political prisoners.

Earlier on Wednesday Russia had announced that it was restart the implementation of the grain export deal.

Moscow claimed that Kyiv had promised not to use the humanitarian corridor for military attacks.

Russian Defence minister Sergei Shoigu also told his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar that the grain deal would “continue in the same way as before” from Wednesday Mr Erdogan told members of his ruling AK party at parliament.

He said the “good news” had followed a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.

The two leaders had discussed the implementation of the grain deal .

The first shipments will prioritise African countries such as Somalia, Djibouti, and Sudan according to Mr Erdogan.

Ukraine and Russia separately signed a document on July 22 with Turkey and the United Nations in Istanbul.

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It allowed for the resumption of food and fertilizer shipments from Ukrainian seaports to international markets.

On October 29 Russia withdrew from the agreement citing Ukrainian “terrorist attacks against ships of the Black Sea Fleet and civilian vessels involved in guaranteeing the security of the grain corridor.”

However according to the Russian Defense Ministry in a statement Turkey and the UN pursuaded Ukraine to issue a written guarantee on Tuesday that it wouldn’t use Black Sea ports or shipping lanes covered by the deal for military operations.

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