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Russia, Türkiye, Qatar Plan New Grain Export Deal: Report

By Vusala Abbasova August 20, 2023

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The reports follow Moscow's decision to exit the grain agreement on July 17.

Russia, Türkiye, and Qatar are preparing a new agreement on grain exports, following Moscow's decision to withdraw from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, German newspaper Bild reported on August 18.

The German publication revealed that Moscow had informed Ankara in advance of its intention to withdraw from the Grain Initiative.

According to the report, Türkiye, Russia, and Qatar are in talks to establish a fresh accord to replace the previous arrangement.

The new arrangement entails Russia supplying its grain primarily to African nations, with Qatar providing sponsorship for the supplies, and Türkiye assuming responsibility for coordinating the deal, it added.

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan urged Russia to reconsider the decision to withdraw from the former grain agreement, which would also enable the export of food from Ukraine. Additionally, Ankara seeks to operate "under the auspices of the United Nations (UN)”.

Bild noted that the new deal could be finalized as soon as this weekend in Budapest. Rustam Minnikhanov, the leader of Russia's Tatarstan Republic, has already arrived in the Hungarian capital, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit is scheduled.

The report follows Moscow's decision to exit the grain agreement on July 17. The new deal is supposed to address the void left by the collapse of the agreement in the global food market.

The Black Sea grain deal was brokered between Ukraine and Russia by Türkiye and the UN on July 22, 2022. The deal allowed the resumption of Ukrainian grain exports through the Black Sea ports that were blocked since Russia launched what it called a “special military operation” on February 24, 2022.

Millions of tonnes of grain were trapped in the country’s silos, causing a surge in food prices, as well as fears of a global food crisis.

As part of the deal, Ukraine resumed grain exports through its ports in the Odesa region, while Moscow secured guarantees for its own grain and fertilizer exports.

According to BBC, over the past year, the deal has enabled Ukraine to export over 32 million tonnes of grain and other foods safely across the Black Sea despite the war.

The deal is particularly critical for countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, which rely on Ukrainian wheat and corn imports. Ukraine and Russia are both significant food suppliers, accounting for 29 percent of wheat exports and 80 percent of sunflower exports globally. The exports are mainly through the Black Sea.

Ukraine, often referred to as one of the world's breadbaskets, is a top grain supplier to numerous developing nations. In 2021, the country's grain exports reached $12.2 billion, accounting for nearly a fifth of its total exports.