Progress was made in talks on the Black Sea grain deal held in Istanbul by the deputy defense ministers of Turkey, Russia and Ukraine as well as UN officials, Turkey's Defense Ministry said on Thursday.
The parties agreed to continue four-way technical meetings on the deal, which is set to expire on May 18, the ministry said in a statement.
What is the Black Sea export agreement?
The United Nations and Turkey brokered the Black Sea export agreement last July to help tackle a global food crisis that has been exacerbated by Moscow's war in Ukraine. It allows the safe export of grains and fertilizers from three Ukrainian ports.
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.
The deputy ministers and UN officials held two days of talks on the deal in Istanbul on Wednesday and Thursday.
On Wednesday, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said he thought the Black Sea grain deal could be extended for at least two more months.
The Kremlin said on Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin could speak with his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan at short notice if needed regarding the extension of the deal, adding that there were no such plans at present.