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Tbilisi insists on cargo monitoring at WTO talks with Russia

September 19, 2011, 19:03 UTC+3
Georgian-Russian WTO talks resumed in Berne with Switzerland's mediation in March
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TBILISI, September 19 (Itar-Tass) — Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Nino Kalandadze stated on Monday that the transparency of borders on the Abkhazian and South Ossetian stretches of the Russian-Georgian state border and international monitoring of cargo turnover there remains the main demand Tbilisi brings forward at the WTO talks with Russia.

"Negotiations are underway over specific details, but whether they are effective is a separate theme," Kalandadze said.

"The parties are discussing how the monitoring of cargo turnover on the Abkhazian and South Ossetian stretches of the Georgian-Russian state border will be effected, what component will be envisioned in this monitoring and which states will participate in it," the deputy foreign minister said.

She expressed the hope that the parties would successfully settle the issue at subsequent rounds, although "there are no such prerequisites at present."

Kalandadze also stated that Georgia, along with a number of other states, "wishes Russia to become a WTO member as soon as possible," but that "this depends on how constructive Russia will be at the talks.

Georgian-Russian WTO talks resumed in Berne with Switzerland's mediation in March.

The last round took place in Geneva on September 12.

At that time, Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze said the talks had been uneventful, but that "they will continue."

"These are very difficult talks. Both sides know each other' positions; Georgia keeps agreeing to compromises whereas Russia very stubbornly sticks to its stance," Vashadze said.

The Georgian authorities stated that Georgia's demands remain unchanged, i.e. Russia must fulfill the commitments it signed in 2004. They envision trade with Georgia through legal checkpoints and the legalization of customs checkpoints on the Abkhazian and South Ossetian stretches of the Georgian-Russian state border. Tbilisi also said it was seeking "transparency on all stretches of the state border." 

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