Erdoğan: "Grain Deal" Extended for Two Months

Wednesday, 17 May 2023

President of Türkiye, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, announced on Wednesday the extension of the Black Sea grain initiative for another two months.

"With the efforts of our country, the support of our Russian friends, the contribution of our Ukrainian friends, it was decided to prolong the Black Sea grain deal for two more months," Anadolu quotes the Turkish leader during his address to party members and officials of his Justice and Development Party.

Erdoğan did not specify whether the extension of the "grain deal" includes the changes previously insisted upon by Russia, particularly the lifting of certain sanctions.

Without the extension, the agreement would have expired automatically on Thursday, May 18.

On 22 July 2022, an agreement was brokered by the United Nations and Türkiye to open a safe maritime humanitarian corridor in the Black Sea to help alleviate the global food crisis caused by Russia's war against Ukraine.

Representatives from Russia, Ukraine, Türkiye, and the UN are part of the Joint Coordination Center (JCC) in Istanbul, responsible for implementing the agreement.

Initially, Wednesday, May 3, was a possible date, and later the Turkish side announced May 5, but as far as is known, the negotiations did not take place (Ukr).

At the last moment before the end of the next term of the grain agreement on 18 March, it was extended after all. However, Moscow soon announced that it had agreed to an extension of only 60 days – half of the standard 120-day period, and threatened to terminate the agreement if its requirements are not met (Ukr).

Sergei Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, once again stated that the situation around the Black Sea Grain Initiative reached a dead end, but he blamed the West for this. 

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