The grain deal can be extended if the interests of the Russian Federation are taken into account, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, RIA Novosti reports.
The ministerial meeting took place on March 1 on the sidelines of the G20 in New Delhi, the parties exchanged views on Russian-Turkish political dialogue and cooperation in the trade and economic sphere, including measures to assist Turkey in eliminating the consequences of the earthquake.
“When discussing the prospects for the implementation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, the Russian side emphasized that the continuation of the “package” agreement on grain is possible only if the interests of Russian producers of agricultural products and fertilizers in terms of unimpeded access to world markets are taken into account,” the agency said in a statement.
The grain deal, which was signed on July 22, 2022 by representatives of Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and the UN, involves the export of Ukrainian grain, food and fertilizer across the Black Sea from three ports, including Odessa. The Joint Coordinating Center (JCC) in Istanbul is responsible for coordinating the movement of ships. The contract expired on November 18, 2022, but meant an automatic extension for 120 days until March 18, if either party did not object. The Russian Foreign Ministry said that “no such objections were received”, at the same time noting that the Russian side allows the technical extension of the “Black Sea initiative” for the export of Ukrainian grain without any changes in terms and scope.
The grain deal itself is an integral part of the package agreement, which, among other things, provides for the unblocking of Russian exports of food and fertilizers, Moscow noted that this was precisely what was not implemented. At the same time, there were assurances from the UN that the restrictions would be lifted.