James O’Brien: During the Grain Initiative, the Erdoğan-Putin channel should be pursued; we cannot allow a strong hand in the Black Sea to be in Russia’s favor

James O’Brien

U.S. Department of State’s Sanctions Coordinator, Ambassador James O’Brien, stated that President Tayyip Erdoğan’s contacts with Russian President Vladimir Putin could play a role in reactivating the Grain Agreement, which became ineffective due to Moscow’s suspension of participation.

O’Brien expressed optimism about the revival of the Grain Initiative, which facilitates the transportation of grain stranded in Ukrainian ports to the rest of the world.

During the briefing conducted online for media representatives from various countries, including T24, O’Brien emphasized that they cannot allow a strong presence in the Black Sea to be in Russia’s favor. Additionally, U.S. Food Security Special Envoy, Dr. Cary Fowler, also participated in the briefing.

O’Brien stated that Russia’s actions constitute an attack on the global food security system, and he expressed that Moscow’s intention is to reduce food and fertilizer availability in the market to fulfill its own demands.

Russia’s isolation should continue

O’Brien emphasized that in order for the Black Sea Grain Initiative to be revived, Russia should continue to be isolated, and he directly conveyed the importance of returning to the agreement to Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as to many African leaders.

He pointed out that the other two parties to the Black Sea Grain Agreement are the United Nations and Turkey, and both have indicated their readiness to engage with Russia.

The U.S. Ambassador mentioned that President Erdogan spoke with Putin this week and expressed their intention to continue further conversations. He stated that the details of where and when these talks would occur would be left to the Turks, but he stressed the importance of continuing to pursue this channel of communication.

For reading more Metin Kaan Kurtuluş/T24

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