Turkey & US discuss NATO expansion, Ukrainian grain export
The two countries discussed bilateral relations, NATO enlargement, and grain shipments from Ukraine.
The Turkish foreign ministry's press service told Sputnik today that the Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu discussed NATO expansion and Ukrainian rain exports from the Black Sea with his American counterpart, Antony Blinken.
"Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken today. During the meeting they discussed bilateral relations, NATO enlargement and grain shipments from Ukraine," the statement read.
World leaders and international organizations have been raising concerns over the world's food crisis since the start of the war in Ukraine, citing disruptions in supply chains, the price hike, and derailed crop productions in the world's bread basket on the Black Sea.
Ukraine and Russia account for an estimated 30% of global exports of wheat, 20% of maize, and 76% of sunflower.
If Ankara is ready to help clear the water of the ports of mines for the export of Ukrainian grain, the Russian and Turkish Armed Forces will be able to agree on the best way to conduct this affair, Lavrov explained.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had previously said that his country's navy would ensure the free passage of vessels carrying Ukrainian grain, which are now blocked in the Black Sea ports, once Kiev agrees to remove its mines from the coastal waters.
Millions of tons of grain remain trapped in Ukraine, stored in silos and at the port of Odessa, causing a dramatic increase in global food prices that is expected to worsen as the war continues.
Ukraine is considered the world's fourth-largest exporter of corn and fifth-largest exporter of wheat, and the UN's program to combat food insecurity purchases roughly half of its wheat from Ukraine each year.
Several countries and international organizations have been calling for the unblocking of the Ukrainian seaports since the start of the war, with the aim of curtailing the rising food process and delivering crops to regions facing acute food crises as soon as possible.
This comes as Russia stressed that it would retain its grain export quota mechanism next season, and its exports in 2022 could reach 50 million tonnes.