Zelensky confirms grain deal's 120-day extension, EU sees 'good news'
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres applauds the agreement of all parties to resume the grain deal and extend it for the allotted days.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday that the grain deal will be extended for another 120 days.
In a tweet, Zelensky said: "Grain Deal will be prolonged for 120 days. [Ukraine] together with [UN head] @antonioguterres and [Turkish Leader] @RTErdogan made key decision in the global fight against the food crisis. Waiting for official announcement from partners - [Turkey] and [the UN]."
Grain Deal will be prolonged for 120 days. 🇺🇦 together with @antonioguterres and @RTErdogan made key decision in the global fight against the food crisis. Waiting for official announcement from partners - 🇹🇷 and 🇺🇳.— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) November 17, 2022
The extension was also confirmed by Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov.
UN Secretary-General encourages resumption
On Thursday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres applauded the agreement of all parties to resume the grain deal and extend it for the 120 allotted days.
In a statement, Guterres said, "I welcome the agreement by all parties to continue the Black Sea Grain Initiative to facilitate the safe navigation of export of grain, foodstuffs and fertilizers from Ukraine," adding that the United Nations is backing the Joint Coordination Center responsible for overseeing the deal "so that this vital supply line continues to function smoothly."
Read next: World needs Russia grain regardless of states' attitude to Moscow: WFP
"The United Nations is also fully committed to removing the remaining obstacles to exporting food and fertilizers from the Russian Federation. Both agreements signed in Istanbul three months ago are essential to bring down the prices of food and fertilizer and avoid a global food crisis," the statement read.
As the quad meeting (🇷🇺🇹🇷🇺🇦🇺🇳) agreed on the renewal of the BSGI, I want to express my deep appreciation to @RTErdogan & Türkiye. Without their generosity & commitment this initiative would never have been born. Istanbul remains the centre of a remarkable diplomatic achievement.— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) November 17, 2022
He also emphasized "the importance of discreet diplomacy in the context of finding multilateral solutions" in the agreement.
Earlier this month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that resuming the UN-brokered grain deal is a diplomatic achievement.
This comes after Russia accused Kiev of a "massive" drone attack on its Black Sea vessels, which Ukraine responded to by calling it a "false pretext", prompting Russia to suspend the deal.
EU sees extension as 'good news'
European Council President Charles Michel joined Guterres in welcoming the extension by calling it "good news".
"I welcome the extension of Black Sea Grain Initiative. With 10 million tonnes of grain already exported under this initiative from #Ukraine this is good news for a world that badly needs access to grain and fertilisers," Michel tweeted.
Most of the grain leaving Ukraine's ports after the grain shipments deadlock that exacerbated the international food crisis is heading to the European Union instead of developing countries, Russian President Vladimir Putin repeatedly warned as the world's poorest nations bear the brunt of the food crisis the most.
I welcome the extension of Black Sea Grain Initiative.— Charles Michel (@CharlesMichel) November 17, 2022
With 10 million tonnes of grain already exported under this initiative from #Ukraine this is good news for a world that badly needs access to grain and fertilisers.
Commending continued efforts of @UN and @antonioguterres