Defense minister: Türkiye to continue talks for extending grain deal

The UN-chartered vessel MV Valsamitis is loaded to deliver 25,000 tonnes of Ukrainian wheat to Kenya and 5,000 tonnes to Ethiopia, at the port of Chornomorsk, east of Odessa on the Black Sea coast, on Feb 18, 2023. (PHOTO / AFP)   

ANKARA – Türkiye will continue its contacts with relevant parties for extending the Black Sea Grain Initiative for 120 days, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Wednesday.

"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.

Since March, the United Nations and Türkiye have been facilitating the Black Sea Grain Initiative for extending the deal one more time

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

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

ALSO READ: Russia agrees to extend Black Sea Grain Initiative by 60 days

Since March, the United Nations and Türkiye 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 Nov 17 to allow Ukrainian and Russian food and fertilizer to be shipped safely from three key Black Sea ports despite the conflict.

The agreement has allowed the exports of more than 24 million metric tons of grain, the Turkish minister said.

READ MORE: UN, Ukraine call for extension of Black Sea Grain Initiative

Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had a phone talk with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday and discussed the grain deal, along with bilateral relations, according to Türkiye's Foreign Ministry.