Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Saturday the extension of the agreement that allows the export of grains from Ukrainenegotiated after the Russian invasion to alleviate the global food crisis.
The current pact, signed in July 2022 by Ukraine and Russia with the mediation of Ankara and the UN, allows ships loaded with Ukrainian grain to safely transit the Black Sea to Turkey, where they are inspected by a joint team.
This agreement allowed the export of millions of tons of corn, wheat and other grains, blocked in the ports since the beginning of the Russian invasion, at the end of February 2022.
Ukraine was one of the world’s leading grain producers before the war and this situation fueled a rise in food prices on all continents.
“After discussions with both parties, we ensured the extension of the agreement that was to expire on March 19.”reported the Turkish president in a television address.
Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov reported that the agreement was extended for 120 days.
“The Black Sea Grains Initiative was extended by 120 days. We thank Antonio Guterres, the UN, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Minister [de Defensa turco] Hulusi Akar and all our partners, for having confirmed this agreement”, the Ukrainian minister said in a tweet.
Erdogan stressed that this agreement “It is of vital importance to the world’s food supply.”
“I thank Russia and Ukraine who spared no effort for a new extension of the agreement and also the UN Secretary General”said the Turkish president.
The conditions of the pact contemplated its automatic renewal for 120 days unless one of the parties presented objections. This was the case in November, when the automatic renewal allowed it to be extended until this Saturday, March 18 at 11:59 p.m. Istanbul time.
On March 13, after a meeting with senior UN officials in Geneva, Russia proposed limiting the extension to just 60 days.
Ukraine expressed its disagreement, without outright rejecting the Russian proposal.
Moscow justified the change in position by claiming that a parallel agreement for the export of Russian food and fertilizers would not be respected.
This commitment, also signed in July 2022 with the UN, implies that these products are excluded from the sanctions applied against Russia by Ukraine’s allies.
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