Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said today that Ankara was working hard to extend a United Nations-backed initiative that allowed Ukraine to export grain from ports blockaded by Russia after its invasion of the country.
The Black Sea Grain Initiative, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey last July, allowed grain to be exported from three Ukrainian ports. The deal was extended in November and will expire on March 18 if not renewed again.
Russia has said it is not happy with some aspects of the deal.
“We are working hard for the smooth implementation and further extension of the Black Sea Grains Agreement”, Cavusoglu said in a speech at the United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries being held in Doha, Qatar.
Russia has said it will agree to extend the Black Sea grain deal only if the interests of its own agricultural producers are taken into account.
Today, Maria Zakharova, representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, reiterated this position.
“If this agreement is equal, then we always fulfill our part and are going to fulfill it in all agreements“, he said according to the TASS agency, adding that Russia will be against “provocations and machinations”.
Russia’s agricultural exports are not specifically targeted by Western sanctions, but Moscow says restrictions on its payments, logistics and insurance companies are an “obstacle” to its ability to export its own grain and fertilizer.
Cavusoglu also said he discussed extension efforts with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Nearly 23 million tons of grain and other food have been exported through the Black Sea Grain Initiative as of March 3, according to the Joint Coordination Center in Turkey that oversees the agreement’s implementation.
Source: News Beast
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