Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan’s upcoming talks in Moscow will clarify the prospects for holding a meeting in Istanbul among the parties to the Black Sea Grain Initiative on revitalizing the now-defunct grain deal, a diplomatic source told TASS.

“Ankara believes that the grain corridor proved functional and effective, and there is no alternative to it. Talks are currently underway with the United Nations, Russia and Ukraine at various levels, and the prospects for an Istanbul meeting will be clearer after the Turkish foreign minister’s talks in Moscow,” the source said.

Turkey’s Milliyet newspaper reported last week, citing sources, that Fidan would visit Moscow in September. His trip will precede talks between President Vladimir Putin of Russia and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, which, according to diplomatic sources, may take place in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi on September 4.

The Black Sea Initiative grain deal was a set of agreements reached in Istanbul in July 2022 for ensuring a safe corridor for ships carrying Ukrainian grain as well as Russian agricultural exports. After several extensions, it was terminated on July 17 at Russia’s initiative when Moscow notified Turkey, Ukraine and the UN of its objections to further extending the deal after July 18. Putin pointed out earlier that the Russia-related provisions of the deal were never implemented, despite the United Nations’ efforts, and the bulk of Ukrainian grain exports had gone to wealthy Western countries, contrary to the original intent of the deal to provide grain to needy countries, particularly in Africa. Still, Moscow stated that it was ready to promptly resume the grain deal once its Russia-related provisions were implemented.

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