14 Mar 2023 10:21

UN notes Russia's readiness to extend Istanbul grain deal for 60 days

NEW YORK, UN. March 14 (Interfax) - The United Nations has taken note of Russia's announcement that it is ready to extend the Black Sea Grain Initiative for 60 days.

"The UN notes the announcement made today by the Russian Federation regarding an extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative for 60 days," said a statement circulated after talks in Geneva between UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affair Martin Griffiths and a Russian delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin.

The grain deal allowed the exports of 24 million metric tonnes of grain and over 1,600 secure vessel voyages through the Black Sea, with 55% of food exports going to developing countries, the UN said.

"The two agreements have had a positive impact on global food security, with millions of tonnes of grain reaching global markets," the statement said.

On Monday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vershinin said Russia had no objections to extending the grain deal, but only for 60 days, while the further stance would be determined depending on real progress on normalizing Russian agricultural exports.

"The Russian side, noting the 'package' nature of the Istanbul Agreements proposed by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, does not object to another extension of the Black Sea Initiative after its second term expiration on March 18, but only for 60 days," Vershinin said in a statement issued following consultations between a Russian interdepartmental delegation and UN representatives in Geneva.