UN confirms extension of Black Sea grain deal

Asl Tia, a cargo vessel carrying Ukrainian grain, sails on Bosphorus to Marmara sea, in Istanbul, on November 2, 2022. (Photo: CFP)

UNITED NATIONS, March 18 (Xinhua) -- A United Nations spokesperson confirmed on Saturday the extension of a deal allowing exports of grain, related foodstuffs and fertilizers from designated Ukrainian seaports.

"The Black Sea Grain Initiative, signed in Istanbul on 22 July 2022, has been extended," Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said in a statement.

On July 22, 2022, Russia and Ukraine separately signed a document in Istanbul with Türkiye and the United Nations on grain and fertilizer exports from Ukraine and Russia to ensure supplies to global markets amid the Russia-Ukraine armed conflict.

The deal, initially in effect for 120 days, was extended in mid-November 2022 for another 120 days to March 18.

"We express our gratitude to the government of Türkiye for the diplomatic and operational support to the Black Sea Grain Initiative," Dujarric said in the statement.

During the first two terms of the initiative, some 25 million metric tons of grain and foodstuffs have been moved to 45 countries, helping to bring down global food prices and stabilizing the markets, he said.

Russia and the United Nations also signed a parallel memorandum of understanding in July 2022 to facilitate unimpeded exports of Russian food and fertilizer.

Dujarric noted that the Black Sea Grain Initiative, alongside the agreement with Russia, "are critical for global food security, especially for developing countries."

"We remain strongly committed to both agreements and we urge all sides to redouble their efforts to implement them fully," he said.