ANKARA (Turkey) — Recep Tayyip Erdan, Turkey’s President, stated Tuesday that he plans to “intensify” negotiations with Russia and Ukraine in order to reach a deal on a U.N. plan for exporting Ukrainian grain to global markets.

Erdogan made these comments at a news conference that was held in conjunction with Mario Draghi, the Italian Premier. Turkey has joined forces with Russia, Ukraine, and the United Nations to create a plan that would allow millions upon millions of tons Ukrainian grain to be transported through safe corridors in Black Sea.

He said to reporters, “We will intensify the talks within a week of 10 days and try for a result.”

Ukraine is one the largest exporters of sunflower oil, wheat, and corn in the world, but Russia’s invasion stopped most of it, putting at risk food supplies to many countries, particularly Africa.

While the Ukrainian government has mentioned a Russian naval blockade at its ports, Russia claims that Ukrainian seamines have prevented safe movement of agricultural products.

Draghi acknowledged the importance of an agreement not only to get grain and fertilizer to the poor, but also because it would be the first agreement that Russia and Ukraine had reached during the war, now in its fifth month.

He said, “This agreement is also very important from the more general perspective within the efforts towards a peaceful resolution.”

Draghi stated last week that the U.N. plan for exporting Ukrainian grain via safe maritime corridors could help save up to a month of time emptying silos before the autumn harvest. It wouldn’t require the demining of ports. According to Draghi, Russia must approve the plan.


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