UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Turkey’s Erdogan welcomed the continuation of the agreement before the end of the day.
A deal to allow essential grain exports to continue from Ukraine’s southern Black Sea ports has been extended for another four months, easing concerns over global food supplies as fears mount.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Thursday that the agreement would last 120 days with the consent of Kyiv and Moscow. It was supposed to expire on Saturday.
“I welcome the agreement of all parties to continue the Black Sea grain project to help facilitate the export of grain, food and fertilizers from Ukraine,” Guterres said in a statement.
He added that the UN was “fully committed to removing the remaining obstacles to the export of food and fertilizers from the Russian Federation” – a part of the agreement that Moscow considers very important.
#BlackSeaGrainInitiative will be extended for 120 days. 🇺🇦 @ZelenskyyUa together w/ @antonioguterres 🇺🇳@NDI🇹🇷 @RTERdogan & Minister of Defense Hulusi Akar @tcsavunma they played another important role in the global fight against the food crisis.
— Oleksandr Kubrakov (@OlKubrakov) November 17, 2022
Oleksandr Kubrakov, Ukraine’s infrastructure minister, hailed the expansion as “an important step in the global fight against the food crisis”.
Russia is about to talk about expansion.
Moscow pulled out of the deal at the end of October, citing security concerns after an attack on its Black Sea fleet, before resuming it days later.
Erdogan receives an extension
The agreement between the two warring parties, established in July by Turkey and the UN, has seen more than 11 million tons of agricultural products shipped from three Black Sea ports in Ukraine, including 4.5 million tons of corn and 3.2 million tons of wheat.
The extension was less than a year earlier than the UN and Ukraine had requested.
But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcomed Russia’s cooperation with Ukraine in continuing cooperation.
“The importance and benefits of this agreement for the supply of food and security in the world have become clear,” Erdogan tweeted.
In accordance with the decision made by Türkiye, the UN, the Russian Federation, and Ukraine, the Black Sea Grain Initiative was extended for another 120 days from November 19, 2022, due to the bilateral negotiations held by Türkiye.
– Recep Tayyip Erdogan (@RTERdogan) November 17, 2022
The three ports involved in the deal – Odesa, Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi – have a combined shipping capacity of about three million tons per month.
Ukraine wanted to annex the southern ports of Mykolaiv, which supplied 35 percent of Ukraine’s food exports before the Russian invasion.
Russia has previously said its agreement to expand the deal depends on its support for exports of seeds and fertilizers. Russia is the largest producer and exporter of wheat in the world.
Russia says it wants the West to ease restrictions on state-owned agricultural lender Rosselkhozbank, which should help boost its exports.