The European Union thanked Türkiye for its role in upholding a wartime agreement that allows Ukrainian grain and other commodities to be shipped to world markets since Russia’s invasion, its top diplomat said on Saturday.
Russia suspended its participation in the secure Black Sea grain corridor in late October but rejoined four days after, easing fears of further disruptions to grain exports from key supplier Ukraine at a time of rampant global food inflation.
Russia’s resumption of the deal on Nov. 2 followed mediation from Türkiye, which had also helped broker the agreement alongside the United Nations in July.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borell met with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on the sidelines of the Sir Bani Yas Forum held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) capital Abu Dhabi.
“Meeting Mevlut Cavusoglu in #UAE, I thanked him for Türkiye’s role in upholding the Black Sea Grain Initiative, to prevent food from being weaponized and to tackle the global food crises,” Borrell said on Twitter.
Çavuşoğlu said the two diplomats discussed regional developments including Ukraine and the Eastern Mediterranean.
President Vladimir Putin has reserved Russia’s right to halt the grain deal again, while U.N. chief Antonio Guterres is pushing Moscow to agree to extend the pact beyond its scheduled expiry on Nov. 19.
Moscow has said its consent to extend the pact depends on support for its own grain and fertilizer exports. Russia is a major agricultural producer and the world’s largest exporter of wheat.
Russia has said the sanctions imposed after the start of what it calls its special military operation in Ukraine make it hard for Russian grain and fertilizer traders to process payments and access vessels, insurance and ports, even though food is exempt.
The U.N. has said it remains committed to removing the remaining obstacles to the exports of Russian food and fertilizer.
Ukraine, whose shipments to global markets were blocked by the conflict and Russia’s control of Black Sea waters until July, is one of the biggest suppliers of grains, oilseeds and vegetable oils.