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Russia's claims on "grain deal" justified, says Turkish professor

16 July 2023 18:00 (UTC+04:00)
Russia's claims on "grain deal" justified, says Turkish professor

The professor of the Istanbul University reminded that the Russian Federation's demands to reconnect RSHB to the SWIFT system were never satisfied, Azernews reports, citing Turkish media outlets.

Russia's claims regarding the functioning of the "grain deal" are justified, as the poorest countries are getting a crumbs, and it will be problematic to find alternative routes for supplies if the deal is abandoned, said Fahri Erenel, director of the Center for Research and Implementation of Security and Defense Strategies (GÜVSAM), a professor at Istanbul's Istinye University.

"Russia is extremely right in its claims regarding the functioning of the "grain" corridor, [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan has also said this many times. The West is playing games: it is trying to make the situation look like Russia, which contributes to food security, should (fulfill the deal - ed.) and needs it, this is public opinion," the professor says.

He noted that as of July 6, the number of grain ships arriving in the Bosporus from Ukrainian ports exceeded 1,000, but only 53 of them went to poor countries.

Erenel, also recalled that Russia's demands to reconnect RSHB to the SWIFT system had not been satisfied.

Professor did not rule out that in case of non-renewal of the deal, food security problems may arise, and then Turkey and China, as the main buyers of grain, will suffer damage from this situation.

Speaking about the search for alternative routes for grain supplies, the Turkish professor pointed out that it would be difficult to do it in the shortest possible time, as the existing routes are too long and expensive.

"Grain can be found in other countries, but it will take some time. Farmers in Ukraine and the Russian Federation will also find themselves in a difficult situation. There is also likely to be an increase in global food prices," Erenel believes.

According to official UN data, only 3% of the cargoes sent within the framework of the Black Sea Initiative went to low-income countries. 44% of cargoes went to high-income countries, and a total of 81% of cargoes were received by high-income and upper-middle-income countries, according to the organization's data.

Earlier, the Financial Times, citing sources, reported that the EU was considering allowing Rosselkhozbank to set up a subsidiary, which would be connected to the SWIFT payment system, to settle transactions related to grain exports in order to preserve the grain deal.

The Black Sea Initiative, which was signed by representatives of Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and the UN on July 22, 2022, involves the export of Ukrainian grain and food, as well as fertilizers, via the Black Sea from three ports, including Odessa. The Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul is in charge of coordinating the movement of ships. Russian President Vladimir Putin pointed out that the West exports most of the Ukrainian grain to its own states, not to needy countries in Africa.

The Grain Initiative is an integral part of the package deal. The second part - a three-year Russia-UN memorandum - provides for unblocking Russian exports of food and fertilizers; among the main tasks were the reconnection of Rosselkhozbank to SWIFT, the resumption of deliveries of agricultural machinery, spare parts and service, the restoration of the Togliatti-Odessa ammonia pipeline and a

number of other measures. As Moscow notes, this part of the package deal has not been implemented so far.

Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on June 21 that there are no prerequisites for the extension of the grain deal, as the obligations towards Russia are not fulfilled. The grain deal expires on July 17.

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