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Erdogan Confirms Extension Of Black Sea Ukraine Grain Deal

Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that the Black Sea Grain Initiative allowing for the export of Ukrainian grain through the country's Black Sea ports, has been extended for another two months.

"With the efforts of our country, the support of our Russian friends, the contribution of our Ukrainian friends, it was decided to prolong the Black Sea grain deal for two more months," Erdogan announced, one day before the deal was due to expire.

Russia agreed not to block ships from leaving two Ukrainian harbors, Erdogan said, expressing his hope that the deal would be "beneficial for all the parties."

Erdogan’s announcement on May 17 came amid threats from Russia to quit the pact over obstacles to its grain and fertilizer exports. His comments, made in a speech to officials of his ruling AK Party, came after the last ship left a Ukrainian port under the deal.

The DSM Capella left the port of Chornomorsk carrying 30,000 tons of corn and was on its way to Turkey, according to data issued by the United Nations.

The pact, which allows for the safe export via the Black Sea of Ukrainian grain, was brokered by Turkey and the UN and has been extended twice. Moscow said in March when the last extension was agreed that it would be only for 60 days, until May 18, unless a list of demands regarding its own agricultural exports was met.

Ukraine welcomed the extension announced on May 17 but said it must work effectively.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said it would comment later on the extension of the deal.

By RF/ERL

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