President Vladimir Putin of Russia and Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are scheduled to meet on Sept.4 in Sochi on Russia’s southern coast.
According to political pundits privy with the working relations between Moscow and Turkey, President Erdogan is trying to pursuade President Putin to return to the Black Sea Grain deal.
Six weeks ago, Russia pulled out of the grain deal claiming that a parallel deal promising to remove obstacles to Russian exports of food and fertilizer hadn’t been honored.
Moscow complained that restrictions on shipping and insurance hampered its agricultural trade, even though it has shipped record amounts of wheat since last year.
The deal was originally brokered by the United Nations and Turkey in July 2022.
Despite the ongoing Russian Speacial Military operation in Ukraine, the deal had allowed nearly 33 million metric tons (36 million tons) of grain and other commodities to leave three Ukrainian ports safely.
Ukraine and Russia are major suppliers of wheat, barley, sunflower oil and other goods that developing nations rely on.
Since Russia withdrew from the initiative, President Erdogan has repeatedly pledged to renew arrangements that helped avoid a food crisis in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
The Sochi summit follows talks between the Russian and Turkish foreign ministers on Thursday, during which Russia handed over a list of actions that the West would have to take in order for Ukraine’s Black Sea exports to resume.
Erdogan has indicated sympathy with Putin’s position. In July, he said Putin had “certain expectations from Western countries” over the Black Sea deal and that it was “crucial for these countries to take action in this regard.”
U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres recently sent Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov “concrete proposals” aimed at getting Russian exports to global markets and allowing the resumption of the Black Sea initiative. But Lavrov said Moscow wasn’t satisfied with the letter.
Describing Turkey’s “intense” efforts to revive the agreement, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said it was a “process that tries to better understand Russia’s position and requests, and to meet them.”
He added: “There are many issues ranging from financial transactions to insurance.”