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Georgia not to participate in Russia WTO talks

By M. Alkhazashvili
Translated by Davit Kipiani
Monday, June 16
Georgia will not take part in talks on a working group’s report on Russian accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva today, a government official said at the weekend.

In April, Georgia blocked talks on Russian accession, demanding that Moscow reverse a decision—made earlier that month—to increase ties with the separatist authorities in South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

“Georgia’s position is unchanged,” Deputy Economic Development Minister Tamara Kovziridze said on June 14, repeating Tbilisi’s demand that Moscow’s decision is reversed.

She also reiterated that Tbilisi’s main demand for approving Russian WTO membership is that Moscow allow Georgian border officers to be stationed at two border crossings with Russia which lie in separatist-controlled territory.

Georgia and Saudi Arabia are the only countries clearly withholding consent on Russian World Trade Organization (WTO) membership, which requires unanimous approval from current members.