US looks to Türkiye to play 'leadership role' in restoring Ukraine grain deal: Blinken

US looks to Türkiye to play 'leadership role' in restoring Ukraine grain deal: Blinken

Türkiye has 'done a good job in keeping it going at various periods,' Blinken says of Black Sea grain deal

By Iclal Turan

WASHINGTON (AA) - US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday said the US looks to Türkiye to play a "leadership role" in restoring the Black Sea grain deal following Russia's withdrawal.

"We look to Turkey to play the role that has already played, a leadership role in getting this back on track, making sure that people around the world can get the food they need at reasonable prices," Blinken said in response to a question about Türkiye's role in grain deal during the Aspen Security Forum in the US state of Colorado.

Noting that Türkiye was instrumental in "getting the initiative off the ground" in the first place working closely with UN Secretary-General Guterres, Blinken said: "They did a terrific job in getting this off the ground".

"They've done a good job in keeping it going at various periods when the Russians were pulling back. And President (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan has said, I think just yesterday, that he is engaged with President (Vladimir) Putin to see if he can bring them back to the agreement," he said.

As Russia continues its attacks on the port city of Odessa in southern Ukraine, Blinken said he sees “zero evidence that Russia is interested” in bigger peace talks.

The US is working with allies and Ukraine “to look at other options,” according to Blinken.

Earlier this week, Russia pulled out of the Black Sea grain deal, saying the Russian part of the agreement was not implemented.

The agreement, initially signed in July last year in Istanbul by Türkiye, the UN, Russia, and Ukraine, was aimed at resuming grain exports from Ukrainian ports which had been halted as a result of the Russia-Ukraine war which began in February 2022.

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