“The Black Sea Grain Initiative, which was signed in Istanbul on July 22, 2022, has been extended… We express our gratitude to the Turkish authorities for their diplomatic and operational support,” read a statement released on Saturday. on the UN website.
Earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the “grain agreement”, which involves the unhindered export of Ukrainian food, has been extended, also without naming the terms of the extension.
“This agreement, which has so far sent more than 800 ships to ship 25 million tonnes of grain to world markets, is vital for the stability of global food supplies,” he added.
How long does the case last?
The UN does not mention the timetable for the extension of the agreement.
The Ukrainian side speaks of four months, but the Russian side initially insisted on two, and there were no preconditions for concessions on its part.
Russia has notified all parties to the “grains agreement” that it agrees to extend the agreement for 60 days, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Saturday.
“We are seeing reports from parties to the ‘grains deal’ that the deal has been extended for 120 days,” Zakharova told reporters.
“We have repeatedly stated – both the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN – that the Russian side has notified all parties to the agreement that it is extending the 60-day agreement,” said Maria Zakharova.
Ukraine and the UN wanted a four-month extension – the previous agreement was for such a period.
The previous agreement, reached through mediation by Ankara and the UN, expires at midnight from Saturday to Sunday, and the parties were in a hurry to reach an agreement.
“The grain corridor agreement expired today. As a result of our negotiations with both parties, we secured the extension of the agreement,” Erdogan said.
Earlier on Saturday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Chuvasoglu signaled that even if the extension were to take place on Russian terms, after those two months Turkey would request another extension.
The threat of world hunger
The first negotiations began in July last year, when world food prices increased significantly due to the lack of Ukrainian cereals, corn and sunflower oil on the market.
Ukraine is one of the world’s largest suppliers of these products. However, the 2021 crops and products were blocked by the Russian fleet in storage facilities at Ukrainian Black Sea ports shortly after the Russian invasion in February 2022.
The UN has sounded the alarm, warning of an impending global food crisis.