Creating new perspectives since 2009

UN says talks on extending Black Sea grain deal in 'delicate stage'

May 16, 2023 at 8:30 pm

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres with Stephane Dujarric (L), Spokesman for the Secretary General on 4 February 2020 in New York City [ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images]

The UN said, Tuesday, that talks continue to extend the Black Sea grain deal which is to expire Thursday, noting: “We’re obviously in a delicate stage”, Anadolu News Agency reports.

“Contacts are going on at different levels.” Spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said at a news conference, adding that Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has been kept abreast of the situation.

Guterres has been talking to UN Humanitarian Chief, Martin Griffiths, and others, said Dujarric.

The spokesman said the grain initiative, along with the Memorandum of Understanding with Russia on fertilisers and grain exports from Russia are critical to keeping global food prices down.

“And we hope that all involved will live up to their responsibilities,” he said.

Earlier in the day, the Kremlin said the public will be informed about Russia’s decision on the extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative when it is made.

Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told a news conference in Moscow that contacts between the parties to the deal are ongoing, and several questions on issues concerning the implementation of the Russian part of the agreement are still open.

Turkiye, the UN, Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement last July in Istanbul to resume grain exports from Ukrainian ports, which were paused after the Russia-Ukraine war began in February, to help tackle a global food crisis.

More than 30 million metric tons of grain and foodstuffs have been exported from Ukraine since last August, according to the UN.

Russia has sought the removal of obstacles to its fertiliser exports, namely banking restrictions, to agree to another extension of the deal during talks, most recently last Wednesday and Thursday.

READ: China backs ‘effective’ implementation of Black Sea grain deal