Turkey announces extension of Grain deal for 120 days
Turkish president says that the agreement was reached following talks between parties involved.
Turkey announced on Saturday the extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, known as the Grain deal, after a period of negotiations between parties involved in the agreement, including Russia and Ukraine.
The agreement, which was initially extended in November until March 18, was renewed for 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.
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The start of the Ukraine war in February 2022 saw Ukraine's Black Sea ports blocked by warships. But a deal brokered by Turkey and the United Nations in July 2022 -- and signed by Kiev and Moscow -- has allowed for the safe passage of exports of critical grain supplies.
The original terms of the Black Sea Grain initiative that Akar referred to -- according to the deal -- were for the 120-day extensions to be automatically renewed for the same period unless one of the parties says otherwise.
Poorest countries received only about 3% of food supplies
Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya highlighted on Friday that the poorest countries received only about 3% of food supplies as part of the grain deal.
"We and many others have a lot of questions about the implementation of the so-called grain initiative, which is designed to facilitate the export of grain from Ukrainian ports," Nebenzya said at a UN Security Council meeting.
"The main one is why it suddenly turned from a humanitarian into a commercial one? After all, statistics clearly indicate this," the Russian official added.
"Its influence on food prices in the world is highly debatable. Meanwhile, the poorest countries received not 66% or 65% of supplies, as they said today here in this hall, but only about 3%."
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