UNITED NATIONS, March 16 (Reuters) - The United Nations backed Türkiye and Ukraine on Thursday (Mar 16) by calling for a 120-day rollover of an agreement allowing the safe export of grain from several Ukrainian Black Sea ports after Russia said it would only extend the pact for 60 days.
The pact is due to expire on Saturday. It was brokered with Russia and Ukraine by the United Nations and Türkiye in July - and renewed in November - to combat a global food crisis that was fueled in part by Russia's Feb 24, 2022, invasion of neighbouring Ukraine and blockade of its Black Sea grain exports.
"For us, the text in the agreement is clear and it calls for a 120-day rollover," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told Reuters when asked about remarks by Türkiye.
Türkiye said on Wednesday that it would continue talks to extend the deal for 120 days rather than 60 days. Ukraine has also said the agreement should be renewed for 120 days.
"The deal is being extended for 60 days," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters on Thursday, when asked to comment on Dujarric's remarks.
The difference in the Russian and UN interpretation of the duration of the deal "may simply be a display of (the UN's) incompetence," she added.
Dujarric said later that "discussions are ongoing." Senior UN and Russian officials met in Geneva on Monday.