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Ankara, Moscow agree on lifting barriers on Russian grain, exports

07.04.23 17:28
With last year’s landmark grain corridor deal continuing, Ankara and Moscow have agreed to work to lift obstacles to Russian fertilizer and grain exports, the Turkish foreign minister said Friday.

"The grain corridor is proof that dialogue and negotiation are working. We attach importance to continuation of the agreement. This is also important in terms of reducing the world food crisis," Mevlut Cavusoglu told a news conference with his visiting Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in the capital Ankara.

"We agree that the barriers to Russian grain and exports should also be removed. We support efforts to remove these barriers.”

Cavusoglu said it is important to ensure shipments of Russian ammonia and fertilizers as well.

He added that more than 27 million tons of grain have been carried by 866 ships via the Black Sea grain corridor deal, which Türkiye helped broker last year in a bid to avert a potential food crisis amid the Russia-Ukraine war.

Last July, Türkiye, the UN, Russia, and Ukraine signed an agreement in Istanbul to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports after they were paused due to Russia’s war on Ukraine, which had threatened a world food crisis.

"The war, which has been going on for more than a year, continues to harm the whole world. We once again emphasized our expectation that the war will end on the basis of international law and through negotiations. We are trying to solve problem by negotiating with both parties," Cavusoglu stressed.

Türkiye, internationally praised for its mediator role between Ukraine and Russia, has repeatedly urged Kyiv and Moscow to end the war through negotiations.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Quadrilateral meeting on Syria

Cavusoglu said he had also discussed with Lavrov an upcoming quadrilateral foreign ministers' meeting including Iran and Syria.

On the recent prelude meeting in Moscow of the countries’ deputy foreign ministers, Cavusoglu said each country had openly expressed its stance and views.

"We want this process to continue in a transparent manner. The dialogue needs to continue, and it would be beneficial to continue consultations (in an) intensified (way)," he added.

Last December, defense ministers and intelligence chiefs of Türkiye, Russia, and the Syrian regime met in Moscow and agreed to continue tripartite meetings to ensure stability in Syria and the wider region.

Iran was also included into the talks, with Türkiye previously saying that Ankara would be "pleased if Iran is involved in this process."

Although no date or location has yet been announced, the foreign ministers' meeting would continue restarting high-level talks between Türkiye and its neighbor Syria since that country’s civil war began in 2011.

Israeli attacks on Palestine

On recent Israeli attacks on Palestine, Cavusoglu called on Israel to permanently stop both attacks on the Al-Aqsa Mosque and airstrikes.

His remarks came after the Israeli army launched air attacks on Gaza and southern Lebanon early Friday.

The escalation comes after Israeli forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem and forcibly removed Palestinian worshippers for two nights in a row.

"The treatment of Israeli police is unacceptable and inhumane," Cavusoglu stressed.

"Palestine, Al-Aqsa Mosque, and Jerusalem are our red line. We will never compromise on these issues," Cavusoglu said.

Cavusoglu said he might have a phone call with his Israeli counterpart Eli Cohen later Friday to raise concerns over the recent Israeli attacks on Palestine, AA reports.