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Erdoğan says will discuss grain deal with UN’s Guterres this month

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Turkey is in close contact with the United Nations on reviving the Black Sea grain initiative and that he will discuss it with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at its general assembly this month, Reuters reported, citing Turkish media.

Speaking to reporters after talks in Russia with Vladimir Putin, Erdoğan was quoted as saying the latest UN proposal sought to address some Russian demands, and he repeated he believed a solution could be found soon.

Russian demands include a return of its Agricultural Bank to the SWIFT payment system and insuring ships involved in the grain initiative, Erdoğan was quoted as saying by TRT, Habertürk and other Turkish broadcasters.

“On August 28, U.N. Secretary General Guterres, in the letter he sent, proposed an intermediary mechanism that would result from the SWIFT transaction, not directly SWIFT as the Russians wanted,” Erdoğa said. “They said work was underway on the insurance issue, too.”

He added that Moscow was putting these two demands forward as “musts” to revive the initiative and that Putin had told him he would not take steps on this until “Europe keeps the promises they made me,” according to Turkish media.

NATO member Turkey seeks to convince Russia to return to the Black Sea Grain Initiative, brokered by Ankara and the United Nations. Moscow withdrew in July, ending a year of protected exports from Ukrainian ports amid the war.

On Monday Putin repeated that Russia could return to the initiative but only if the West stopped restricting Russian agricultural exports from reaching global markets.

Erdoğan will participate in the G20 summit in India on Sept. 9-10 before attending the UN General Assembly in New York Sept. 18-26.

“We will have meetings with Guterres there to discuss these issues,” Erdoğan was cited as saying.

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