Grain deal to be extended with no obstacles: Erdogan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reveals that more than 8 million tons of Ukrainian grain have been shipped to world markets.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has affirmed that “there is no obstacle to extending the shipping agreement” related to the UN grain deal.
In a press conference, while returning from a trip to Azerbaijan, Erdogan said: “I saw this again in my phone call with [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky last night and in my meeting with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin. But in the meantime, if there is any blockage, there is no obstacle for us to overcome."
Last week, UN Coordinator for the Black Sea grain deal, Amir Mahmoud Abdulla, stated that the grain agreement will not only be extended but may also be expanded.
Moscow and Kiev have made requests to extend the agreement, according to the official. Thus, Russia wants to resume ammonia exports, while Ukraine wants to extend the agreement for more than a year and include the port of Mykolaiv.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Erdogan added that more than 8 million tons of Ukrainian grain have been shipped to world markets aboard 363 ships as of Thursday--under the agreement-- with 62% of Ukrainian shipments going to Europe, 19.5% to Asia, 13% to Africa, and 5.3% to Middle Eastern countries.
"We are not hopeless. It is our hope that we will continue on the road for peace by bringing the two leaders together," he concluded.
Russia, Ukraine, and Turkey signed an UN-brokered agreement on July 22 to establish a humanitarian maritime corridor for ships transporting food and fertilizer from Ukrainian Black Sea ports.
However, Russian President Vladimir Putin has stated on numerous occasions that the majority of ships carrying Ukrainian grain did not make it to the world's poorest countries and instead ended up in Europe. Moscow has also maintained that the deal's provision for Russian food products is ineffective.
Low-income nations get only quarter of grain
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) revealed on October 7 that only a quarter of the grain exported under the UN-brokered deal with Ukraine and Russia via the Black Sea is going to low-income countries.
"Now, the concern again, is that despite these bigger food availabilities, still only around 25 to 26% of the grain ... is going to low-income countries," an FAO statement said.
It is essential to improve an increased food access capacity for the most vulnerable countries for the ratio to start changing, the statement added.
"And that's what we are observing and that's why there was an improvement in the last six months."
Most of the grain leaving Ukraine's ports after the grain shipments deadlock that exacerbated the international food crisis is heading to the European Union instead of developing countries, Russian President Vladimir Putin said back in September as the world's poorest nations bear the brunt of the food crisis most.
Several countries are at risk of dwindling grain supplies, such as Somalia, Yemen, Niger, and Lebanon, to name a few.
Following the investigation of the explosion on the Kerch Strait Bridge on October 8, Putin said that if it becomes known that the grain supply corridors were used by Ukraine to carry out terrorist attacks, the grain deal might be revised.