Turkish official sees ‘high probability’ of Ukraine grain deal being extended

  • Talks on extending grain deal persevering with in Turkey
  • Turkish official says they heading in ‘optimistic path’
  • Kremlin declines touch upon how talks progressing
  • Black Sea deal has helped to deal with international meals disaster

UNITED NATIONS, May 17 (Reuters) – There is “a quite high probability” of the Ukraine Black Sea grain deal being extended, a senior Turkish supply stated on Wednesday, a day earlier than Russia might stop the pact over obstacles to its personal grain and fertilizer exports.

Earlier, the final ship left a Ukrainian port below the deal, which permits for the secure export through the Black Sea of Ukrainian grain however which is because of expire on Thursday with out settlement on an extension.

“The talks (in Turkey) are continuing. They’re heading in a positive direction. As far as I can see there is a quite high probability of an agreement being reached,” a senior Turkish official stated.

“Some contacts are continuing. We are seriously hopeful,” the supply added.

U.N. information confirmed that the DSM Capella, the final vessel for now working below the deal, had left the Ukrainian port of Chornomorsk carrying 30,000 tonnes of corn and was on its method to Turkey.

The United Nations and Turkey brokered the Black Sea deal for an preliminary 120 days in July final yr to assist deal with a world meals disaster that has been aggravated by Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, one of the world’s main grain exporters.

Moscow agreed to increase the Black Sea pact for an extra 120 days in November, however then in March it agreed to a 60 day extension – till May 18 – except a listing of calls for relating to its personal agricultural exports was met.


To persuade Russia in July to permit Black Sea grain exports, the United Nations agreed on the similar time to assist Moscow with its personal agricultural shipments for 3 years.

“There are still a lot of open questions regarding our part of the deal. Now a decision will have to be taken,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov informed reporters on Tuesday.

Asked on Wednesday about how the talks have been progressing, Peskov informed a briefing he wouldn’t enter into “hypothetical discussions” on what Russia would do if the grain deal lapses.

Vessels are seen as they look forward to inspection below United Nation’s Black Sea Grain Initiative within the southern anchorage of the Bosphorus in Istanbul, Turkey December 11, 2022. REUTERS/Yoruk Isik//File Photo

Senior officers from Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the U.N. met in Istanbul final week to debate the Black Sea pact.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stated final week he thought the deal might be extended for at the very least two extra months.

While Russian exports of meals and fertilizer usually are not topic to Western sanctions imposed following the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, Moscow says restrictions on funds, logistics and insurance coverage have amounted to a barrier to shipments.

The United States has rejected Russia’s complaints. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield stated final week: “It is exporting grain and fertilizer at the same levels, if not higher, than before the full scale invasion.”

Officials from Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the U.N. make up a Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) in Istanbul, which implements the Black Sea export deal. They authorize and examine ships. No new vessels have been approved by the JCC since May 4.

Authorized ships are inspected by JCC officers close to Turkey earlier than travelling to a Ukrainian Black Sea port through a maritime humanitarian hall to gather their cargo and return to Turkish waters for a ultimate inspection.

In an excerpt of a letter seen by Reuters final month, Russia informed its JCC counterparts that it’ll not approve any new vessels to participate within the Black Sea deal except the transits shall be performed by May 18 – “the expected date of … closure.”

It stated this was “to avoid commercial losses and prevent possible safety risks” after May 18.

Given this warning by Russia, it seems unlikely that any ship house owners or insurance coverage firms could be keen to proceed transporting Ukrainian grain exports if Russia doesn’t conform to an extension of the deal and decides to stop.

The United Nations, Turkey and Ukraine did proceed the Black Sea settlement in October throughout a quick suspension by Russia of its participation.

Some 30.3 million tonnes of grain and foodstuffs has been exported from Ukraine below the Black Sea deal, together with 625,000 tonnes in World Food Programme vessels for help operations in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Yemen.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; further reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Grant McCool

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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