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Erdogan says Black Sea grain deal extended for two months

May 17, 2023 at 5:09 pm

Turkish President and Leader of the Justice and Development (AK) Party, Recep Tayyip Erdogan greets public during his party’s rally in Beyoglu district of Istanbul, Turkiye on May 13, 2023 [Arif Hüdaverdi Yaman/Anadolu Agency]

The Ukraine Black Sea grain deal has been extended for two more months, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday, one day before Russia could have quit the pact over obstacles to its grain and fertiliser exports, Reuters reports.

Erdogan’s comments, made in a speech to officials of his ruling AK Party, came after the last ship left a Ukrainian port under the deal, which allows for the safe export via the Black Sea of Ukrainian grain and was due to expire on Thursday.

“The Black Sea grain corridor deal has been extended by two months with the efforts of Turkiye,” he said in his televised speech, also thanking the Russian and Ukrainian leaders and UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, for their help.

The United Nations and Turkiye brokered the Black Sea deal for an initial 120 days in July last year to help tackle a global food crisis that has been aggravated by Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, one of the world’s leading grain exporters.

Moscow agreed to extend the Black Sea pact for a further 120 days in November but then, in March, it agreed to a 60 day extension – until 18 May – unless a list of demands regarding its own agricultural exports was met.

To convince Russia in July to allow Black Sea grain exports, the United Nations agreed, at the same time, to help Moscow with its own agricultural shipments for three years.

READ: Ties with Turkiye basis for Russia involvement in grain deal, says researcher