BANGKOK, November 17. /TASS/. Russia has been giving signals that it will not "ax" the grain deal, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Pankin told reporters on Thursday.
"Of course, we gave such signals that we are not going to ax it (the grain deal - TASS)," he said. "What happened, whether it was extended, I can't say," the diplomat added.
Pankin noted that Moscow is ready to extend the deal if it is not expanded with additional provisions for the Russian side, as well as if both parts of the package agreement are fulfilled.
"The package format of the deal is very important," the Deputy Foreign Minister stressed.
He recalled that one of the main accomplishments of the last G20 summit was a declaration, which clearly states that the grain deal essentially consists of two parts.
"The deal is considered to be the Black Sea grain initiative regarding the export [of grain] through Ukrainian ports, but in fact there is another part, recorded by the UN Secretariat, on assisting Russia in the unhindered export of fertilizers and food to world markets," the diplomat emphasized.
He also pointed out that countries claim that there are no export restrictions as such.
"However, there are restrictions on accompanying foreign trade aspects: service, payments, logistics, ship calls, loading, and so on," Pankin said.
"It is like you were invited somewhere, but they don’t give you a visa, it seems that they don’t forbid you to come, but there are restrictions - this is for comparison," the Deputy Foreign Minister explained.
On extension of the deal
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed on Thursday that the grain deal signed in Istanbul in July would be extended for 120 days.
"Following the decision made by the UN, Turkey, Russia and Ukraine, the agreement on the Black Sea corridor will be extended from November 19, 2022 for 120 days," the Turkish leader wrote on Twitter.
Erdogan thanked UN chief Antonio Guterres, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky for their efforts to extend the initiative. "My congratulations to all those who contributed to this process," he said.
Grain deal parameters
The agreements on the export of food from Ukraine were concluded on July 22 for a period of 120 days. One of the agreements regulating grain exports from the Kiev-controlled ports of Odessa, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny is valid until November 19, while the Istanbul-based Joint Coordination Center (JCC) established by Russia, the UN, Ukraine and Turkey is designed to conduct vessel inspections to prevent weapons smuggling or any provocations. The latter was signed by Russia, Turkey and the UN and separately by Ukraine, Turkey and the UN. Also, Russia and the UN signed a memorandum under which the international organization is committed to removing restrictions on the export of Russian agricultural products and fertilizers to global markets.