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UN strives to extend Black Sea Grain deal

The United Nations is working towards the extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, and asks all parties concerned to engage constructively, a spokesman said on Friday.

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Farhan Haq, a deputy spokesman for UN Secretary-General António Guterres, said at a press briefing that the Joint Coordination Center (JCC), which comprises representatives of Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations, has failed to authorize any new ships under a deal allowing exports of Ukrainian grain from Black Sea ports.

“The Joint Coordination Center has not reached an agreement to authorize new vessels to participate in the Black Sea Initiative. The JCC continues its daily inspection work on the previously authorized vessels… We urge all parties to continue their discussions, overcome operational challenges and work towards the full implementation and continuation of the initiative,” he said.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative was signed separately by Russia and Ukraine in Istanbul with Turley and the United Nations in July 2022. It aims at facilitating the safe navigation for the export of grain and related foodstuffs and fertilizers, including ammonia, from three Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea.

The deal, initially in effect for 120 days, was extended in mid-November 2022 for another 120 days till March 18, 2023. At that point, Russia only agreed to extend the deal for a further 60 days, till May 18.

“UN representatives will be participating in a technical meeting convened by the government of Turkey on the initiative in preparation for the senior-level meeting taking place next week in Istanbul. So we’re looking forward to constructive and frank discussions with all sides with the aim to overcome challenges and work towards the continuation and full implementation of the initiative,” Haq said.

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