Türkiye and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres are “working hard” to revive the Black Sea grain deal, said White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Friday.
During a press briefing, Sullivan said the US does not see an immediate pathway back to the deal, saying that “Russia’s excuses, answers on this just keep shifting.”
“We’re going to continue to press on them (Russians). We’re going to call on the rest of the world to do the same. We know the Turks are working hard at this, Guterres is working hard at this. So we hope that they can generate an outcome,” said Sullivan.
“But the Russians are not giving us a huge amount of cause for optimism at this moment,” he added.
On Wednesday, Guterres said he will meet Turkish, Ukrainian, and Russian leaders next week at the annual UN General Assembly meeting in New York in an effort to revive the deal.
Russia suspended the grain deal in July because it said parts related to its demands have “not been implemented so far,” referring to the removal of obstacles to fertilizer exports and the inclusion of state-owned Russian Agricultural Bank in the SWIFT international payment system.
The agreement was signed in Istanbul in July 2022 by Russia, Ukraine, Türkiye and the UN, creating a safe corridor through the Black Sea for exports from three Ukrainian ports since the war began that February.
It helped rein in spiraling prices and ease a global food crisis by restoring the flow of wheat, sunflower oil, fertilizer and other products from Ukraine – one of the world’s largest grain exporters.
At the UN General Assembly, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will be attending the global gathering of world leaders for the first time in person.