Ukraine grain deal has been extended, says Turkey’s President Erdogan hours before deadline
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday (March 18) announced extension of a deal that allowed exports of Ukrainian grains following Russia’s invasion of the country.
Ukraine is one of the top grain producers in the world. Russian invasion of Ukraine had impeded passage of grain ships. This had in turn raised the spectre of a global food crisis before Turkey and the United Nations brokered a deal between Russia and Ukraine for passage of grain shipments.
The grain deal had got an extension till March 19.
“Following talks with the two parties, we have assured the extension of the deal that was due to expire on March 19,” Erdogan said in comments broadcast on Turkish television, just hours before the agreement was due to expire at midnight.
The Turkish president did not specify for how long the deal was extended. Turkey had earlier said that it was in favour of 120-day extension while Russia wanted a 60-day extension.
“This deal is of vital importance for the global food supply. I thank Russia and Ukraine, who didn’t spare their efforts for a new extension, as well as the United Nations secretary general.”
Ukraine is one of the world’s top producers, and the so-called Black Sea Grain Initiative has helped soothe the global food crunch triggered by the conflict.
(With inputs from agencies)
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