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The News in Brief

Wednesday, December 3
Russia’s accession to WTO is postponed due to change of power in USA and Doha round – Medvedkov

The Russian Federation’s accession to the World Trade Organisation has been postponed due to the changing of the US Administration and the Doha round; the world crisis did not influence the process, senior Russian negotiator and Director of the Department of Trade Talks of the Ministry of Economic Development Maxim Medvedkov explains, as reported by RIA Novosti.

Medvedkov told Ekho Moskvi says that at present the USA is an “a period of passiveness” due to the transition to a new administration, and that many countries want to finish the Doha round of talks. “In December the talks will be dedicated completely to the Doha round, there will be little time for us,” he said. According to Medvedkov, the world crisis has not had an impact on the discussions on the accession of the RF to WTO, but could influence processes within the organization.

Asked whether breaking off relations with Georgia after the assault on South Ossetia in August would influence how quickly Russia acceded to WTO, Medvedkov at first acknowledged “that it dragged the talks on for a year – a year and a half.” He said that at the round of talks in December in Geneva the Georgian party had reserved the right to raise new questions with Russia. “But these questions have not been raised yet. I do not think they have serious commercial interests,” Medvedkov said.

Medvedkov noted that there were cases when countries had joined WTO despite the objections of some members of the organization. “WTO’s rules permit it. If Georgia votes against, it will not change the general balance in favour of our accession”, Medvedkov considers. He expressed hope that in 2009 Russia would finish the process of talks on accession to WTO. It had been previously planned to complete the talks by the end of the current year, meaning next year the Russian Federation would become a WTO member.

The next round of multilateral talks will be held in Geneva in January 2009. (Black Sea Press)

Turkish Foreign Minister calls for dialogue

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey Ali Babacan has called for the development of dialogue in order to resolve conflicts in the Caucasus.

"There are problems (the Nagorno Karabakh, Georgian-Russian and Turkish-Armenian conflicts) in the region, but efforts are being made to settle them. Diplomatic activity is taking place now and must be effective. We cannot leave the current problems of the region to future generations,” the Turkish Foreign Minister stated at a news conference after his meeting with his Azeri counterpart, Elmar Mamedyarov, on Monday.

Mr. Babacan emphasized that all conflicts should be settled only through dialogue. “We are currently working on this issue. If not resolved today, these conflicts may lead to greater tragedies in future,” he said.

“We discussed the initiative of the Turkish side, the regional stability and security platform, and agreed to proceed with discussions on those issues within the platform framework in future as well,” Elmar Mamedyarov said.

On August 11, Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan proposed a cooperation platform for the Caucasus. The proposed “Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform” is aimed at stabilizing the situation in the region and envisages the participation of five regional countries - Turkey, Russia, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. (Black Sea Press)