Moscow agrees to extend Grain Deal for 60 days instead of 120
This comes after Ankara announced that the Black Sea Grain Initiative was extended for a period of 120 days just hours before it was set to expire - at midnight of March 18.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Sputnik on Saturday that Moscow agreed to extend the Black Sea Grain Initiative for a period of 60 days instead of the 120 period originally specified in the agreement, noting that all parties have been notified.
"We see the reports from the parties to the grain deal that the agreement has been extended for 120 days, but we have repeatedly said — both the [Russian] Foreign Ministry and Russia's representatives to the United Nations — that the Russian side has notified all parties to the deal that it extended the deal for 60 days," Zakharova said.
"All parties have been notified about this, and not only orally, but also through special [diplomatic] notes," she added.
This comes after Ankara announced today that the Black Sea Grain Initiative was extended for a period of 120 days just hours before it was set to expire - at midnight of March 18 (Istanbul time).
"Following talks with the two parties, we have assured the extension of the deal that was due to expire on March 19," Turkish President Recep Tayyip said.
Read more: Turkey announces extension of Grain deal for 120 days
Earlier in the day, Russian Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia listed in a letter addressed to UN Under-Secretary-General Martin Griffiths and UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan, all the conditions required for Moscow's approval of a further extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI) after 60 days and urged on the parties to abide by the regulations specified in the MoU signed between Russia and the UN.
"Consideration by the Russian side of further extension of the BSGI after the indicated date will only be possible subject to tangible progress achieved in the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Russian Federation and the UN Secretariat on assistance in promoting Russian food and fertilizers on global markets," the letter reads.
The letter further noted that Russia is not opposed to the extension of the grain deal for 60 days until May 18.
It did however specify that the future of the deal would depend on the "re-SWIFTing" of the Russian Agricultural Bank, resumption of agriculture machinery and spare parts supply to Russia, unblocking accounts and financial activities of Russian fertilizer companies, and lifting restrictions on insurance and access to ports for the Russian ships and cargo.
Read more: UN focused on removing obstacles to grain deal payments: Spokesperson