Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said on Wednesday he thought the Ukraine Black Sea grain deal could be extended for at least two more months, as officials from the parties involved held the first day of talks on an extension in Istanbul, Reuters reports.
Russia has said it would not extend the pact beyond 18 May unless a list of demands is met to remove obstacles to its own grain and fertiliser exports. Cavusoglu was speaking to reporters on his return from a trip to Moscow.
He said the grain deal was among the issues he discussed with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, during the visit and that he hoped a positive result could be achieved in Istanbul, where talks were set to continue on Thursday.
“I think we can get a result to extend it for at least two more months,” Cavusoglu said.
The UN and Turkiye brokered the Black Sea export agreement last July to help tackle a global food crisis that has been worsened by Moscow’s war in Ukraine. Officials from Russia, Ukraine, Turkiye and the UN make up a Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) in Istanbul, which implements the deal.
The United Nations said inspections resumed on Tuesday of outbound vessels under a deal allowing the safe Black Sea export of Ukraine grain. There were no inbound or outbound inspections of ships on Sunday or Monday.