ANKARA, May 10. /TASS/. The grain deal is expected to be extended at the talks that started on Wednesday in Istanbul, taking into account Russia’s objections, a source in Ankara close to the talks told TASS.
"There is information that the agreement will be extended beyond May 18. That's why I'm talking about it as a fact. And there are expectations that the export of Russian products will be a part of it," the source said.
According to the source, extending the grain deal is a crucial issue for the Turkish leadership in the run-up to the elections and they will do everything in their power to make it happen. "For President Tayyip Erdogan, extending the deal is a signal to the West that Turkey can be trusted. As a result, the government will do everything in its power to preserve the grain initiative," the source said.
On July 22, 2022, a package of documents on the supply of food and fertilizers to the international market was signed in Istanbul. Initially, the agreements were concluded for 120 days. On March 18, 2023, Russia announced the extension of the initiative for 60 days. The Russian Foreign Ministry noted that a further extension of the deal would depend on the reconnection of the Russian Agricultural Bank to the SWIFT system and the lifting of a number of restrictions on supplies, insurance and the use of ports. The Turkish side earlier said that the Turkish state bank Ziraat may be ready to carry out operations to pay for Russian grain and fertilizers.
The negotiations between Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, and the UN on the extension of the grain deal and the implementation of the Russian part of the agreement on the supply of grain and fertilizers will last two days in Istanbul, with May 11 expected to be the key day of the negotiations.