US welcomes efforts of Türkiye to try to convince Russia to return to grain deal

Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during 28th Mukhtars (local administrators) meeting at the Presidential Complex in Ankara on October 19, 2016. / AFP / ADEM ALTAN (Photo credit should read ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The US welcomes Türkiye’s efforts to try to convince Russia to return to the Black Sea grain deal, the State Department said Tuesday. 

“We are continuing to engage with the UN and Türkiye which have worked very hard to make the Black Sea Grain Initiative both possible and functional,” State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters in response to a question on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi.

“We also thank our NATO ally, Türkiye, for its important role in the efforts to try and get the Black Sea Grain Initiative back on track,” he said.

Patel said Russia’s decision to terminate its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative “hurts communities vulnerable to food insecurity around the world.”

Asked about the reports that the US is proposing the Danube River route as an alternative to the Black Sea grain corridor, Patel said it is the US goal and hope that Russia returns to the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

“We of course are continuing to assess and look at what other options are available to make sure that the flow of food product can get to the places that it needs to go,” he said.

But Patel said he does not have any announcement to offer.

“I certainly am not going to read into deliberative processes that are ongoing,” he said.

“We want the Black Sea Grain Initiative to be up and running again, we know that it worked,” Patel said. 

“And we also are incredibly thankful for the UN and our Turkish partners for the role that they played previously in getting this deal together and the role that they continue to play to try and convince Russia,” he added.

Erdogan said last Monday while returning from a trip to Russia’s coastal city of Sochi where he met Putin, that he believes a “good result” will be reached soon on the revival of the grain deal.​​​​​​​

Russia suspended its participation in the deal July 17 that was brokered by Türkiye and the UN, to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports that were paused after the Ukraine war began in February 2022.

Moscow has repeatedly complained that the West has not met its obligations regarding Russia’s grain exports. It said restrictions on payments, logistics and insurance have been a barrier to its shipments.