Russia agrees to extend grain deal with Ukraine again: NPR
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Turkey and Ukraine have said the agreement with Russia to allow grain exports from Ukrainian ports through a safe corridor in the Black Sea has been extended.
The length of the extension remained uncertain on Saturday, but it will be at least 60 days. Ukraine and Turkey have said the extension will be 120 days, but a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman told Russian news agency Tass that Moscow had agreed to extend the deal for 60 days.
“Through our discussions with both parties, we have secured an extension of the agreement,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
The deal was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey last July in an effort to tackle a global food crisis. It was extended in November by 120 days and was due to expire on Saturday.
As the expiry date approached, Russia made it clear that it was only ready to extend the deal until May 18. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said his country would make efforts to extend the deal beyond two months.
The agreement allows Ukraine, one of the world’s largest grain suppliers, to ship grain, related foodstuffs and fertilizers from three Black Sea ports through a humanitarian maritime corridor.
Twenty-five million tonnes of cereals and foodstuffs were exported to 45 countries thanks to this agreement, “helping to lower world food prices and stabilize markets”, according to Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for the Secretary General of the UN.
The agreement is “essential for global food security, especially for developing countries”, Dujarric said.