17 May 2023 17:31

Erdogan announces grain deal's extension for another 2 months - Turkish media

ISTANBUL. May 17 (Interfax) - The Black Sea Grain Initiative will remain in effect for another two months, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday.

"The Black Sea grain deal has been extended for another two months," the Anadolu news agency quoted Erdogan as saying.

Erdogan also wrote on Twitter he expected that the implementation of the deal's terms and conditions would "benefit all parties."

Apart from that, he thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for supporting Ankara's efforts toward extending the grain deal, as well as Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for cooperation and efforts in the process.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova has confirmed the extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative for another two months.

"We confirm the Black Sea initiative's extension for two months announced by the Turkish president. Thus, this provides a chance to help ensure global food security not just in words but also in deeds, primarily help the countries that are the most in need," Zakharova said at a press briefing on Wednesday.

"That said, our principled assessment of the Istanbul agreements of July 22, 2022 have not changed, and flaws in their implementation must be corrected as soon as possible," she said.

Representatives of Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, and the UN met in Istanbul last week for negotiations on extending the grain deal.

The grain deal was signed in Istanbul on July 22, 2022. The UN, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine signed two documents to open a grain corridor from three Ukrainian ports (Chernomorsk, Odessa and Yuzhny) and to lift restrictions on Russian food and fertilizer exports.

The initiative was extended for 120 days in November 2022. After the initiative expired on March 18, it was extended for another 60 days.

Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said in early May that Russia's terms of the grain deal had still not been implemented.