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Turkey to continue talks for extending Black Sea grain deal by 120 days

IANS | March 16, 2023 12:35 PM

ANKARA: Turkey will continue its contacts with relevant parties for extending the Black Sea Grain Initiative for 120 days, Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said.

"We started negotiations in line with the initial version of the agreement, with the idea of extending it for another 120 days ... we will continue our contacts over extending the grain corridor deal for 120 days, instead of two months, " he told reporters in Ankara following a parliamentary group meeting of the ruling Justice and Development party.

Akar added that parties to the deal will evaluate and make their decision on a further extension of the agreement.

On Monday, Russia agreed to extend the deal only by 60 days after talks with UN representatives in Geneva.

Since March, the UN and Turkey have been facilitating the negotiations for extending the deal one more time.

The deal was reached in July 2022 and was extended by 120 days on November 17 to allow Ukrainian and Russian food and fertilizer to be shipped safely from three key Black Sea ports despite the ongoing war between Moscow and Kiev.

The agreement has allowed the exports of more than 24 million metric tonness of grain and over 1, 600 secure vessel voyages through the Black Sea, with 55 per cent of food exports going to developing countries.

According to the Turkish Defence Ministry, at least 790 ships have left Ukrainian ports so far carrying nearly 23.5 million tonnes of grains since the initiative came into being.

Nearly 40 per cent of the grain passing through the corridor was transported to Europe, 30 per cent to Asia, 13 per cent to Turkey, 12 per cent to Africa and 5 per cent to the Middle East.

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