Black Sea grains deal extended, say parties to deal
Recast with UN declaration,
ANKARA, March 18 (Reuters) – A deal allowing the export of Ukrainian grain from Black Sea ports that was due to expire on Saturday has been renewed, after days of talks brokered by Turkey to extend the deal.
The pact was negotiated with Russia and Ukraine by the United Nations and Turkey in July – and renewed for another 120 days in November – to tackle a global food crisis that was fueled in part by Russia on February 24. 2022, the invasion of Ukraine and Blockade of the Black Sea.
“The Black Sea Grains Initiative, signed in Istanbul on July 22, 2022, has been extended,” the United Nations said in a statement, thanking the Turkish government for its diplomatic and operational support for the deal.
“The grain corridor agreement was due to expire today. Following our discussions with both parties, we secured an extension of this agreement,” Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech at Canakkale, in The west of the country.
Neither Erdogan nor the UN statement specified the length of the agreed extension.
Russia wanted to renew the deal for just 60 days, half the length of the previous renewal period, while Ukraine insisted on a 120-day renewal.
Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said the deal had been extended for 120 days.
“The (Black Sea Grain Initiative) agreement is extended for 120 days,” Kubrakov wrote on Twitter.
“Grateful for (UN Secretary General Antonio) Guterres, (the) UN, President Erdoğan, Minister Hulusi Akar and all our partners for sticking to the agreements,” he added.
The UN statement said the deal had delivered 25 million tonnes of grain and food during its first two terms, helping to lower global food prices and stabilize markets. .
(Reporting by Huseyin Hayatsever in Turkey, Max Hunder in kyiv and Michelle Nichols in New York Editing by Frances Kerry and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)
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