Turkey’s Erdogan announces extension of Black Sea grain initiative


March 18 (UPI) — Turkish President Recap Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday announced an extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which allows for the safe passage of grain amid the war between Ukraine and Russia.

Under the agreement, the export of much-needed Ukrainian and Russian grain to Africa and elsewhere via the Black Sea will continue with Turkey acting as guarantor, Erdogan said in a televised address.


Turkey also manages shipping routes and inspects vessels as part of the arrangement.

“Following talks with the two parties, we have assured the extension of the deal that was due to expire on March 19,” the Turkish leader said.

“This deal is of vital importance for the global food supply. I thank Russia and Ukraine, who didn’t spare their efforts for a new extension, as well as the United Nations secretary general,” he added.

Erdogan didn’t say how long the initiative was extended for, but Vasily Nebenzya, Russia’s permanent United Nations representative, said in a letter to U.N. leaders the deal has been renewed for 60 days only.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on the parties to extend the initiative during a visit to Kyiv earlier this month.


“The Black Sea Grain Initiative, agreed last July in Istanbul, has provided for the export f 23 million tons of grain from Ukrainian ports,” Guterres said. “It contributed to lowering the global cost of food and has offered critical relief.”