18 May 2023 12:30

Peskov explains grain deal extension for 2 months by 'relative result' achieved at talks

MOSCOW. May 18 (Interfax) - The Black Sea Grain Initiative has been extended for two months because of the achievement of certain results, however, its fate remains in the hands of those with whom the United Nations is due to coordinate the Russian part of the deal, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

"Yes, we can actually confirm that the Russian side has decided to prolong this so-called Black Sea deal for two months. A relative result has been achieved at negotiations involving representatives of Turkey, Ukraine and the UN," Peskov said.

"As to the guarantees for Rosselkhozbank, various options to be equivalent to SWIFT's unblocking are being considered. There are certain hopes based on the negotiations held to date, which is why the decision on a two-month extension has been made," Peskov said.

Peskov added that the deal continued to depend on the implementation of its Russian part. "It is crucial to understand that the fate of this deal actually remains in the hands of those with whom the United Nations was supposed to coordinate the Russian part of the deal. Some of the road has been covered, there are results, but they are not final. We will try to fully solve the problem within 60 days," he said.

"Discussions are continuing," Peskov said in response to a follow-up question on whether headway had been made in the supplies of ammonia and fertilizers.

The grain deal was concluded 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.

On May 17, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the Black Sea Grain Initiative would remain in effect for another two months. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova confirmed the extension of the grain deal. "Our principled assessment of the Istanbul agreements of July 22, 2022, has not changed, and flaws in their implementation must be corrected as soon as possible," she said.