Ankara [Turkey], March 19 (ANI): Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday announced an extension of the Black Sea grain deal, CNN reported. However, he did not reveal details regarding the expiration date of the deal.
The deal was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey last July to ensure safe passage for ships carrying grain exports from Ukraine. The deal was set to expire today.
Speaking at an event in Turkey's Canakkale province, Erdogan said, "As a result of our negotiations with both parties, we extended the agreement period," as per the CNN report.
Turkish President Erdogan thanked the Russian and Ukrainian parties as well as United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for their efforts to extend the agreement.
"This agreement, which has provided the shipment of 25 million tons of grain to the world markets with more than 800 ships to date, is of vital importance for the stability of the global food supply," Erdogan said as per the CNN report.
"I would like to thank the Russian and Ukrainian parties and the UN secretary general for their efforts to extend the agreement once again," he added.
Stephane Dujarric, a spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, "We remain strongly committed to both agreements and we urge all sides to redouble their efforts to implement them fully," according to the CNN report.
The agreement comes after Russia on Monday said that it had agreed to a 60-day extension of the deal. The Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov described the move as a "goodwill gesture." On Thursday, the UN stressed that the agreement stated it would be extended for 120 days rather than 60.
In July last year, Ukraine and Russia signed the agreement following months of negotiations brokered by the UN and Turkey. The agreement allowed the resumption of exports of Ukrainian grain via the Black Sea.
According to the statement released by United Nations, the Black Sea grain initiative allowed commercial food and fertilizer (including ammonia) exports from three key Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea - Odesa, Chornomorsk, Yuzhny/Pivdennyi. The Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) was established to monitor the implementation of the initiative. (ANI)