Ukraine and Russia Reach Agreement on Black Sea Grain Initiative Extension
The duration of an extension to a deal allowing Ukrainian grain exports over the Black Sea remained uncertain on Saturday, with Russia saying it had agreed to a 60-day extension, while Ukraine said the deal had been extended for 120 days.
In July of last year, the United Nations and Turkey worked together to negotiate an agreement in response to the worldwide food crisis. The extension, which was granted in November, was for 120 days and is set to expire on Saturday.
During peacetime, Ukraine and Russia contribute a considerable amount to the world's grain and fertilizer production, accounting for 28% of traded wheat globally and 75% of sunflower oil.
Ukraine's Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said the deal had been extended for 120 days. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also said that an extension had been secured.
The discussions focused on the implementation of the two agreements signed on July 22, 2022: the Black Sea Grain Initiative between the Russian Federation, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Nations; and the Memorandum of Understanding between the Russian Federation and the UN, to facilitate unimpeded exports of food and fertilizer.
Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said Russia informed Turkey and Ukraine that they would agree to 60 days, while a spokeswoman for Russia's foreign ministry told Russian news agency Tass that Moscow had agreed to extend the deal 60 days.
However, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said: “We are seeing reports from parties to the ‘grain deal’ that the deal has been extended for 120 days. We have repeatedly stated … that the Russian side has notified all parties to the deal that it is extending the deal for 60 days.”
U.N. humanitarian agency officials stated in a statement that the two agreements have had a majorly positive effect on global food security, leading to millions of tons of grain being supplied to global markets.
Today in Geneva, Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, and Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development, met with a high-level delegation from the Russian Federation led by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin.
“We have made meaningful progress. Impediments remain, however, notably with regard to payment systems. There is more to do and our efforts to overcome these remaining impediments will continue unabated,” he said.
0. “Russia agrees to extend the Ukraine grain deal again” WBUR News, 18 Mar. 2023, https://www.wbur.org/npr/1164538947/russia-ukraine-grain-deal-extended
1. “Ukraine-Russia: Extension of grain export deals vital to global food security” UN News, 17 Mar. 2023, https://news.un.org/en/story/2023/03/1134737
2. “Turkey's Erdogan announces extension of Black Sea grain initiative” UPI News, 18 Mar. 2023, https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2023/03/18/turkey-black-sea-grain-initiative-erdogan-extension/2041679160726/
3. “Note to correspondents on the Black Sea Grain Initiative and the Memorandum of Understanding with the Russian …” OCHA, 13 Mar. 2023, https://www.unocha.org/story/note-correspondents-black-sea-grain-initiative-and-memorandum-understanding-russian-federation
4. “UN shows openness to shorter renewal of Black Sea grain deal” TradeWinds, 14 Mar. 2023, https://www.tradewindsnews.com/bulkers/un-shows-openness-to-shorter-renewal-of-black-sea-grain-deal/2-1-1419636