By Janet Ekstract
ISTANBUL- On Saturday, Turkish President Erdogan announced the Black Sea grain deal extension from its deadline of March 19. As Erdogan commented at a ceremony in Canakkale: “As a result of our negotiations with both parties, we have ensured the extension of the agreement period, expiring on March 19.” He expressed gratitude to Ukraine, Russia and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for their efforts in extending the agreement. The Turkish leader added: “This agreement, which has provided the shipment of 25 million tons of grain to the world markets with more than 800 ships to date, is of vital importance for the stability of the global food supply.” Ukraine’s Minister of Infrastructure Oleksandr Kubrakov said the deal has been extended “for 120 days.” On Twitter, Kubrakov said: “Grateful to Antonio Guterres, President Erdogan, Hulusi Akar and all our partners for sticking to the agreements. Due to joint efforts, 25M tons of Ukrainian grain delivered to world markets.”
The U.N. in a formal statement, said that 25 million metric tons of grain and foodstuff was delivered to 45 countries which will assist in reducing food prices. The statement read: “We express our gratitude to the Government of Turkiye for the diplomatic and operational support to the Black Sea Grain Initiative. It further stated: “The Black Sea Grain initiative, alongside the Memorandum of Understanding on promoting Russian food products and fertilizers to the world markets, are critical for global food security, especially for developing countries.” The U.N. said its remains in a strong commitment to both agreements and urged all sides to work hard toward fully implementing the deals.