ANKARA: Turkey plans to develop a mechanism for addressing the grain issue during a forthcoming visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Ankara, though it will take from three to five weeks to launch the process, Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Saturday.
On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin told the Rossiya 24 broadcaster that there are no obstacles to the export of grain from Ukraine. Ships carrying wheat will be able to leave the Black Sea without any problems, if Kiev clears ports of mines, Putin said.
“During the visit of Mr. Lavrov, we look forward to quickly deal with various aspects of the (grain) issue, make a decision and start the process as soon as possible within the framework of a certain protocol and a memorandum of understanding. It will probably take another three or five weeks to launch the process, even if we agree on the main issues,” Kalin said, as quoted by Turkish newspaper Star.
Lavrov will arrive in Ankara on June 8. The Russian foreign minister is expected to discuss the recent developments in Ukraine and other pressing issues with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu.
World leaders and international organizations have been raising concerns over an imminent and large-scale food crisis since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine, citing disruptions in supply chains and derailed crops production in one of the largest gain producers in the world and calling for unblocking Ukraine’s sea ports and releasing the grain stuck in warehouses. Russia has denied blocking sea ports and has drawn attention to the mines deployed by Ukraine in the Black Sea.