Russia's demands not yet met for renewal of grain deal: Turkish source
Russia's demands for the extension of a deal that allows the export of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea have not yet been met, a Turkish diplomatic source said on Wednesday, adding that Ankara is "working very hard" to ensure the deal continues.
The Black Sea Grain Initiative brokered by the United Nations and Turkey last July allowed grain to be exported from three Ukrainian ports. It was extended in November and until March 18 and will expire unless another extension is agreed.
Russia signalled that obstacles to its own agricultural exports needed to be removed before it let the Ukraine's Black Sea deal continue.
"Turkey is working very hard for the extension of the Black Sea grain deal, negotiations are still going on," a Turkish diplomatic source said.
"Russia's concerns, or the rather the difficulties that it is facing, have not been overcome yet. But Turkey is doing its part for an agreement between all parties," the source added.
Ukraine's Black Sea grain: Is Russia weaponising global food security?— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) July 28, 2022
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said last week that Ankara was working hard to extend the initiative.
Cavusoglu discussed the issue with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, on the sidelines of the G20 summit in New Delhi last week, and with U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres in Doha over the weekend.
Russia's agricultural exports have not been explicitly targeted by Western sanctions, but Moscow says restrictions on its payments, logistics and insurance industries are a "barrier" to it being able to export its own grains and fertilisers.
Russia's foreign ministry said last week that Moscow would only agree to extend the Black Sea grain deal if the interests of its own agricultural producers were taken into account.
Ukraine and Russia are both major global suppliers of grains and fertilisers.