After intense negotiations, an agreement on grain exports from Ukraine by sea will be extended for another two months, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday, a day before a deadline set by Russia to withdraw. It is called the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
“Thanks to the efforts of our country, the support of our Russian friends and the participation of our Ukrainian friends, it was decided to extend the Black Sea Grain Corridor Agreement for two more months,” Erdogan wrote on Twitter.
Russia and Ukraine confirmed the continuation of the agreement. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday that it had been extended by two months to “help the most needy countries,” as she wrote on her Telegram channel.
The Minister of Infrastructure Alexander Kubrakov writes on Facebook that the pact will be valid until July 18. He condemns that since mid-April, Russia has “unjustifiably limited the work of the initiative and since May has de facto blocked it by refusing to register the new fleet and inspect the fleet loaded in Ukrainian ports.”
“Almost 70 ships are currently waiting in Turkish territorial waters, 90% of which are ready to deliver our farmers’ products to the world,” says Kubrakov. “We welcome the continuation of the initiative, but we insist that it must work effectively.” For this, we need to eliminate the problems that Russia has been creating for several months by sabotaging inspections and registration of the new fleet.”
Moscow threatened to renege on the deal on May 18 if a list of conditions were not met to hamper Russian agricultural exports, including the reconnection of Roselkhozbank (the Russian Agricultural Bank) to the SWIFT payment system. According to the official Russian agency Ria, Zakharova said that “there is a distortion in the application [del acuerdo] They should be fixed as soon as possible.”
Sealed in July 2022 with the help of the United Nations and Turkey to avert a global food crisis, the agreement successfully resumed exports and ensured the safe passage of grain and other products on merchant ships from various Ukrainian Black Sea ports blocked by Russia. invasion. The agreement allowed the shipment of more than 30 million tons of food, mostly corn and wheat.
Parties to the deal have held intense talks to secure its continuation, described as “fundamental” by the United Nations, which said on Tuesday that contacts “with different representatives at different levels” were continuing.
“We have some positive and important developments: the confirmation of the Russian Federation to continue participating in the Black Sea Initiative for another 60 days. I welcome this decision. Continuation is good news for the world,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday. “These are unavoidable issues. But the representatives of Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the UN will continue to discuss them.”
Guterres expressed the hope that a “global agreement to improve, expand and expand the initiative” would be reached, stressing its importance. “Vital food supplies reach the world’s most vulnerable people and places. They are important because we are still mired in an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis,” he added, noting that markets have stabilized, volatility has eased and global food prices have fallen by twenty percent over the past year.
“Looking forward, we hope that food and fertilizer exports, including ammonia, from Russia and Ukraine will reach global supply chains in a safe and predictable manner, as provided for in both the Black Sea Initiative and the Memorandum of Understanding on Russian exports.” food and fertilizers, the implementation of which is in full readiness of the United Nations,” said the head of the United Nations.
For his part, Erdogan thanked the “sincere support” of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the “constructive cooperation” of his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky and the “efforts” of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. He added that he was also working to create the conditions for the pact to last beyond that period, and expressed hope that a “long-term ceasefire” could be reached between Russia and Ukraine. “We look forward to the days when the war between Russia and Ukraine ends first with a permanent ceasefire and then with peace.
Source: El Diario