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Compiled by Lisa Tonakanyan
Friday, April 29
The fare for mini-bus to rise up to 80 tetri from May 26

Mini-buses are to re-appear on Rustaveli and Chavchavadze avenues, the newspaper, Rezonansi reports. However, the price for traveling by mini-bus will increase from 50 to 80 tetri. As mini-buses' drivers said after private talks, new prices will come into force as soon as the new "marshrutkas" come into action which will probably happen after May 26. Drivers say that after this Chavchavadze and Rustaveli avenues will be open for "marshrutkas".

However, the representatives of "TbilLine" claim that the 50 tetri fare will not rise automatically and that any increase would be the result of a rise in the price of fuel.

Representative of the Tbilisi City Council Tina Khidasheli however claimed there was inevitability about a price increase for traveling by mini-bus up to 80 tetri.

Tina Khidasheli: 'It is quite possible that the fare for "marshrutkas" could reach 80 tetri. This is exactly the price we have been talking about since the tender had finished. Today the cost for a bus journey for each resident of Tbilisi is around 80 tetri. So, it is not surprising that the prices for mini-buses increase as they are more comfortable, faster and can take you to any place in Tbilisi. As for the statement about raising prices for fuel, this is not real and not well-reasoned".

As regards the other innovation, which implies renewal of mini-buses' movement on Chavchavadze and Rustaveli Avenues, this has not been decided yet.

In City Hall they state that the question is still being discussed.

World Trade Organization doesn't wish to accept Russia without Georgia's consent

The second round of talks between Tbilisi and Moscow concerning Russia's membership to the World Trade Organization (WTO) will start tomorrow. In spite of the difference between their positions, the Kremlin is convinced that Moscow can join WTO without Georgia's consent. Tbilisi is indignant about such statements. However, Russian press relying on anonymous Russian diplomats writes that European countries do not at all like the idea of accepting Russia in the WTO without Georgia's agreement, the newspaper Rezonansi reports.

"Georgian analysts believe that considering the severe position of both sides negotiations could reach a deadlock and that finally Russia will be accepted to WTO in a roundabout way. According to this mechanism, Russia will need to get the consent of the members of those committees, which lead the negotiations. Georgia is not a member of this committee. Besides, it's possible to decide the issue by voting and not by consensus. US Deputy Secretary of State Tina Kaidanow visiting Georgia also raised the question of Russia's acceptance to WTO. According to her, "the US understands that Georgia has its legitimate concerns, which should be addressed. Our hope is that the talks will be efficient", Kaidanow said.

Analyst in economic issues David Narmania says Russia really has an opportunity to enter WTO without Georgia's consent but Moscow will have to fight for it. Another expert, Levan Kalandadze, considers that Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov's statement sounds like a political threat and these statements are a sign that the Kremlin is showing its claws. He does not rule out that Russia will use every possible angle to become a member of WTO.

Soso Tsintsadze, a political analyst, thinks that Russia wants to enter WTO in the proper way. At the same time, Europe doesn't want to create such a precedent and really doesn't wish to make an exception for anyone. According to him, the Kremlin will never admit European custom officials to the borders of occupied territories of Georgia as this can negatively effect on the recognition of those de facto republics. Moscow will never accept this and will have to choose some other ways", the newspaper writes.