The deputy defense ministers of Türkiye, Russia, and Ukraine are expected to hold a meeting in Istanbul on Friday to discuss the extension of the Black Sea grain deal, set to expire later this month, the Turkish defense chief said.
“We discussed the grain initiative in our meetings. In this context, as a result of the acceptance of our proposal by both parties, it is planned for the deputy defense ministers of Türkiye, Ukraine, and Russia to meet in Istanbul on Friday, May 5,” National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told reporters in the province of Kayseri in central Türkiye.
Various issues, particularly the Black Sea grain deal, will be discussed during the meeting, he added. The deal is set to expire on May 18.
“It is our hope that the grain deal will continue undisturbed because this agreement is very important for regional peace and stability, as well as for countries in need.
“In this context, we can say that the parties are willing to extend the deadline. It is our wish that this initiative be extended without any problems,” Akar said.
Türkiye, the UN, Russia, and Ukraine signed a deal in Istanbul last July to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports, which were paused after the Russia-Ukraine war began in February 2022.
A Joint Coordination Center with officials from the three countries and the UN was set up in Istanbul to oversee the shipments.
*Writing by Diyar Guldogan in Ankara