Turkey, UN confirm grain deal extension. Ukraine insists it’s for 120 days

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has announced that the parties have extended the grain deal, an agreement between Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, and the UN that established a safe naval passage across the Black Sea for Ukrainian agricultural exports, Haberturk quotes him as saying.

“The grain deal term that was expiring on 19 March has been extended. We ensured that the agreement was prolonged for a new term through talks conducted with two sides,” he said.

The UN also confirmed this announcement.

At the same time, neither Ankara nor the UN clarified the length of the extension.

Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kurbakov claims that the parties secured a 120-day extension.

“Russia notified all the parties that the deal had been extended by 60 days,” spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova told RBC.

Earlier, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister stressed that the document had been prolonged by 60 days, not 120.

Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, and the UN signed the grain deal on 22 July 2022. The parties agreed to create a safe naval corridor for commercial vessels to leave Ukraine’s seaports and travel across the Black Sea. The deal was expiring on 18 March.

Earlier, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin announced that Russia does not object to extending the grain deal beyond 18 March but only for a 60-day period. According to him, the future position will be determined with regards to the “real progress” achieved in normalising Moscow’s agricultural exports.

Meanwhile, Kubrakov slammed the Russian decision to offer a 60-day extension of the grain deal as going against the agreement signed by Turkey and the UN because it envisions an automatic 120-day extension if the parties do not have any complaints.

The UN said that the organisation had taken notice of “the announcement made today by the Russian Federation regarding an extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative for 60 days”. According to the UN, the grain deal made it possible to export 24 million tonnes of grain and carry out more than 1,600 safe and secure ship voyages across the Black Sea, while 55% of the agricultural deliveries were sent to developing countries.

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