The Black Sea Grain Initiative, which covers exports of agricultural products from Ukrainian Black Sea ports has been extended, representatives of Turkey, Ukraine and the United Nations said March 18.
The deal was brokered to enable shipments critical of global food supplies from Ukraine to resume after they were disrupted by Russia’s invasion.
Russia — the other key signatory to the deal — has not yet confirmed the extension.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the Black Sea grain corridor agreement had been extended, the Anadolu news agency reported.
“As a result of our negotiations with both parties, we have extended the agreement period,” Erdogan said, according to the report.
The United Nations said in a statement that the deal has been extended, but did not give a timeframe.
“The Black Sea Grain Initiative, alongside the Memorandum of Understanding on promoting Russian food products and fertilizers to the world markets, are critical for global food security, especially for developing countries,” it said in a statement.
“We remain strongly committed to both agreements and we urge all sides to redouble their efforts to implement them fully,” it said.
Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said that the deal has been extended for 120 days.
First agreed in July 2022, the deal facilitates exports of agricultural products from Ukrainian Black Sea ports, which had been suspended following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It guarantees the safety of commercial ships taking agricultural commodities from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports and was previously extended on November 18.
Western countries have aimed to minimize the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on agricultural exports, due to their critical role in global food supplies.
Kubrakov said that he is grateful to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and all partners for their joint efforts to extend the document for another 4 months.
“At the same time, the main challenge is to speed up vessels inspections in Turkey. This will allow the world to get even more Ukrainian agricultural products. We also continue to work on involving the ports of Mykolaiv region to the grain initiative and expanding the cargo range,” he said in a statement.
Ukraine estimates that as a result of the agreement, 25 million mt of Ukrainian grain has been delivered to world markets.
In the run up to the previous expiration date Russia had pushed for an extension of only 60 days, half the length of the automatic renewal of 120 days.
This was despite Russia temporarily suspending its participation in the deal on Oct. 30, after Ukraine struck a naval base in Sevastopol. Russia then warned commercial ships it could no longer guarantee their safety, but within three days it had returned to the agreement, allowing its automatic renewal on Nov. 18.
The grain export deal renews automatically every 120 days unless opposed by one of the signatories — Russia, Ukraine, Turkey or the UN.