Lviv, Ukraine, Nov 17 (EFE).- An agreement to extend grain exports via three Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea for four months has been reached, Ukrainian and United Nations officials announced.
Confirming the agreement, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy wrote on Twitter: “Grain Deal will be prolonged for 120 days. (Ukraine) together with Antonio Guterres (UN secretary general) and Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Turkish president) made key decision in the global fight against the food crisis.”
On Wednesday, Erdogan said on the sidelines of a G20 summit on the Indonesian island of Bali that his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin greenlit the renewal of the deal that was initially sealed in July and set to expire on November 19.
Guterres hailed the extension of the deal in a Twitter statement.
“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. The initiative demonstrates the importance of discreet diplomacy in finding multilateral solutions,” he said.
He also thanked Erdogan and Turkey, saying the deal would not have “been born” without their “generosity and commitment.”
Ukraine’s infrastructure minister Oleksandr Kubrakov highlighted that Ukraine called on its grain deal partners to extend it for at least a year and to include the port of Mykolaiv.
“We are awaiting their response,” the Ukrainian official said.
The grain export was briefly suspended by Russia in October in the wake of a Ukrainian attack on the Crimean peninsula but was resumed shortly after.
According to UN data, some 10 million tons of grain and other foodstuffs from Ukraine and Russia have already been exported under the landmark initiative.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned that if the deal were to be terminated, the situation “could be really difficult and the implications could be very serious.”EFE