ISTANBUL, May 12. /TASS/. The grain deal, which expires on May 18, will be extended by 60 days, the corresponding decision may be first to be announced by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, a source familiar with the negotiation process told TASS.
"The deal, I think, will be extended for 60 days, but Russia may agree to this for the last time. The decision to prolong "traditionally" may be announced by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan after a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart [Vladimir Putin]," the source said. The source did not rule out that the decision can be announced "today or tomorrow".
However, the source called the possibility of extending the deal a "gesture from Russia" in the hope that its demands, enshrined in the Istanbul memorandum of July 22 last year, would be taken into account.
Following the talks in Istanbul between the delegations of Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and the UN, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin told reporters that the Russian part of the agreements would cease to operate if Moscow did not receive guarantees that their demands would be met by May 18. They concern the export of agricultural products and fertilizers, the reconnection of the Russian Agricultural Bank to the SWIFT system, and a number of other issues.
Agreements to enable the export of food and fertilizers to world markets were signed on July 22, 2022 in Istanbul. They were originally meant to last 120 days and were extended for another 120 days in November. Russia announced on March 18 that the deal was extended for another 60 days, saying this would be enough time to assess the effectiveness of the memorandum signed with the UN. Moscow has said repeatedly that any further extension of the deal hinges on whether the Russian part of the deal is implemented. The lack of progress in this issue jeopardizes the future of the entire initiative.
On May 10-11 representatives of Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and the UN met in Istanbul to discuss a potential extension of the grain deal and the implementation of the Russian part of the agreement for supplies of grain and fertilizers. The security of the Black Sea grain corridor was also on the agenda.