ISTANBUL: Turkiye will continue discussions to extend a deal which allows grain shipments from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports for 120 days rather than 60 days, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said on Wednesday.

“We started negotiations in line with the initial version of the deal. The continuation of the deal is important. We will continue our contacts (regarding its extension for) 120 days instead of two months,” Akar said according to a statement by the defence ministry. Parties of the deal will evaluate and decide on a further extension of the agreement, Akar also said, adding that Ankara hoped for a positive outcome.

Since Russia and Ukraine signed the UN-backed Black Sea Grain Initiative in Turkey on July 22, millions of tonnes of grain and other food products have been exported from Ukrainian ports, helping lower global food prices from record highs.

As the talks continued, Russia suggested allowing the deal to be renewed for 60 days, half the term of the previous renewal, but Ukraine rejected it.—Reuters