MOSCOW, May 11 (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin could speak with Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan at short notice if needed regarding the extension of the Ukraine Black Sea grain deal, the Kremlin said on Thursday, as talks on the matter continue in Istanbul.
Russia has said it will not extend the pact beyond May 18 unless a list of demands is met to remove obstacles to its own grain and fertilizer exports.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday he thought the deal, which allows for the safe export of grain and fertilisers from three Ukrainian ports, could be extended for at least two more months.
Asked to say whether Putin and Erdogan might discuss the issue, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters there were no such plans at present but added: “They call each other up very quickly when needed.”
He declined to comment on the state of the talks while they are still in progress.
The United Nations and Turkey brokered the Black Sea export agreement last July to help tackle a global food crisis that has been worsened by Moscow’s war in Ukraine. Officials from Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the U.N. make up a Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) in Istanbul, which implements the deal.
Reporting by Moscow newsroom
Writing by Gareth Jones
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