UN 'doing everything possible' for extension of Black Sea grain deal: official

A team of representatives from the Joint Coordination Center (JCC) inspects on the first grain-laden ship leaving Ukraine on the northwestern entrance of the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul, Türkiye, Aug. 3, 2022. (Turkish Defense Ministry/Handout via Xinhua)

Martin Griffiths, the UN undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, said Friday the world body is doing "everything possible" to ensure the extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

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.

"Right now, the United Nations, under the leadership of our secretary-general, is doing everything possible to make sure that the Black Sea Grain Initiative can continue," Griffiths told a Security Council meeting on the situation in Ukraine, convened a day before the deal is set to expire.

"We continue to engage closely with all parties," he said via a video link.