Türkiye: Parties nearing Black Sea grain deal extension after 'positive' talks
Recent talks between Türkiye, Russia, Ukraine and the UN have been “positive” and helped the parties move towards an agreement on extending the Black Sea grain deal, according to the Turkish defense chief, News.Az reports citing Anadolu Agency.
UN officials and the deputy defense ministers of Türkiye, Russia, Ukraine met in Istanbul on May 10-11 for negotiations on another extension of the deal, which is due to expire next week.
“According to our initial information, the meeting in Istanbul was positive. (The parties are) moving towards an agreement,” National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said at an event in the southwestern Mugla province on Thursday.
He said there are six commercial vessels in Ukrainian ports and a “framework agreement has been reached” for their return to Türkiye.
The parties have agreed to continue four-way talks to finalize an agreement, he added.
Akar emphasized that the deal has allowed more than 30 million tons of grain to be shipped to countries in need.
“What does this mean? It means preventing hunger and maintaining stability,” he said.
Türkiye, the UN, Russia, and Ukraine initially signed the agreement in Istanbul last July to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports, which were halted after the Russia-Ukraine war began in February 2022.
A Joint Coordination Center with officials from the three countries and the UN was set up in Istanbul to oversee the shipments.