Erdogan confirmed the 120-day extension of the agreement to export Ukrainian grains through the Black Sea

Commercial ships, including vessels that are part of the Black Sea Grain Agreement, wait to pass the Bosphorus Strait off the coast of Yenikapi during a misty morning in Istanbul, Turkey. October 31, 2022. REUTERS/Umit Bektas/File (UMIT BEKTAS/)

The president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogandeclared this Saturday that his country has guaranteed the extension of the agreement on grains from the Black Sea.

“The agreement on the cereal corridor expired today. As a result of our talks with the two parties (Russia and Ukraine), we have obtained an extension of this agreementErdogan said in a speech in the western city of Canakkale.

the ukrainian minister Oleksandr Kubrakov also confirmed that the agreement on the Black Sea Grain Initiative was extended 120 days.

Russia had previously asked to renew the deal for just 60 dayshalf the previous renewal term, while Ukraine insisted on a 120-day renewal.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends a signing ceremony in Istanbul, Turkey, July 22, 2022. REUTERS/Umit Bektas/File
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends a signing ceremony in Istanbul, Turkey, on July 22, 2022. REUTERS/Umit Bektas/File (UMIT BEKTAS/)

Last July, the UN and Turkey brokered the agreement that allows Ukraine, one of the main breadbaskets on the planet, to export food and fertilizer from three of its ports on the Black Sea. Another memorandum of understanding between the UN and Moscow seeks to overcome obstacles to the shipment of Russian fertilizers to global markets.

The original agreement, for 120 days, was renewed in November and expired this Saturday. It was stipulated that it be extended automatically for the same time unless one of the parties objected. The Russian ambassador to the UN, Vasily Nebenziaindicated that the Kremlin had formally done so.

The UN Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, Martin Griffithsopened the Security Council meeting by stating that the Black Sea grain initiative has caused the world price of food to continue falling.

The initiative, he added, has allowed the export of almost 25 million metric tons of food since August, and the UN World Food Program has been able to move more than half a million tons of wheat to support humanitarian operations in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Yemen.

Griffiths pointed out that it is crucial that the UN-Moscow memorandum be fully implemented.

Several vessels are waiting to undergo an inspection in accordance with the conditions of the
Several ships wait to undergo an inspection in accordance with the conditions of the ‘Black Sea Grain Initiative’ at the southern anchorage of the Bosphotro Strait in Istanbul, Turkey, December 11, 2022. REUTERS/Yoruk Isik/File (YORUK ISIK/)

There have been “significant advances, but the impediments continue, especially with respect to the payment system,” he said, noting that the organization’s general secretary, Antonio Guterresand the head of Commerce, Rebecca Grynspan“spare no effort to facilitate its full implementation.”

But Nebenzia claimed that “the memo just doesn’t work” and that the UN must acknowledge that it “has no leverage to exempt Russian agricultural export operations from Western sanctions” and that its efforts have yielded no results.

In addition, he indicated that the Ukrainian grain export agreement went from being a humanitarian initiative to help developing countries that faced a continuous escalation of prices, to a Commercial Operation that benefited the four main western agri-food corporations.

As a result, Nebenzia said that Russia had officially informed Turkey and Ukraine through a note that it did not oppose the extension of the grain initiative, but only for 60 days, until the May 18.

“If Brussels, Washington and London are really interested in continuing to export food from Ukraine through the maritime humanitarian corridor, they have two months to exempt the entire chain of operations of the Russian agricultural sector from their sanctions,” the diplomat said.

(With information from AP and AFP)

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