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Russia, Georgia come to agreement at talks on Russia’s accession to WTO

November 02, 2011, 22:44 UTC+3
The previous round of talks between Georgia and Russia brought no result
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GENEVA, November 2 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia and Georgia came to agreement at the talks on Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The delegations of the two countries reached a consensus on the draft bilateral agreement on the administration of trade in goods, Russia’s chief negotiator Maxim Medvedkov told Itar-Tass on Wednesday, November 2.

The previous round of talks between Georgia and Russia brought no result, Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergi Kapanadze said on October 8.

“The negotiations are over and we can say that they collapsed, ended with no result at all,” Kapanadze, who represents the Georgian delegation at the talks in Switzerland, told Reuters.

“Georgia cannot give its consent to Russia's entry to the WTO until Russia changes its position on trade within the occupied territories,” the diplomat said, referring to two Russian-backed breakaway regions in Georgia – Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

The Georgian delegation insists that “Russia comply with the obligations, signed in 2004, to trade with Georgia only through legal checkpoints and legalise customs and border crossing points on the Abkhazian and South Ossetian sections of the Georgian-Russian state border”.

However Russia says this demand has nothing to do with its accession to the WTO and is politically motivated.

Russia may become a member of the World Trade Organisation before the end of the year, its Director-General Pascal Lamy said earlier.

For the first time in about ten years that he has been dealing with Russia’s admission to the WTO, Lamy seems to be truly hopeful that the country’s admission to the organisation is real as never before, he said.

“We should cover the remaining distance quickly, without creating big problems for communication with our leading partners in the EU. I hope that the government will find such compromise,” Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said earlier.

“We believe it necessary to intensify our efforts to join the WTO,” he said.

Medvedev said Russia would use the shortest way possible to join the WTO. He said the form of accession was less important.

Usually, admission to the WTO takes about 10 years. The WTO has 153 member states, which account for 95 percent of the world’s trade turnover. Russia filed an application for admission in 1994.

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