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Georgian Position Concerning WTO Remains the Same

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, October 27
The negotiations concerning Russia’s joining the WTO presumably will come to an end. Moscow stubbornly tries to join the organisation without Tbilisi’s consent and makes no concession whatsoever.

Moscow has desperately been trying to join the WTO for the last 17 years, whereas Tbilisi has been blocking this possibility, demanding the monitoring of the formal border between Georgia and Russia, now under the separatist control. Initially Tbilisi demanded deployment of its own monitors there however later it agreed to the deployment of international monitors. Russia meanwhile rejects both possibilities. Georgia several times stated that as soon as Moscow announces its readiness to allow international observers to monitor trade turnover between Russia and Georgia’s breakaway regions, Tbilisi will agree to Russia’s claim to join the WTO.

Russia categorically denies such a possibility saying that it is unacceptable to deploy any monitors on the border of two independent states. Moscow agrees to monitor only cargo whose final destination is Georgia, but not cargo which is designated for the separatist entities. The term for making a final decision is expiring. The west states that it will not put pressure on Georgia and Moscow should achieve an independent agreement with Tbilisi. However Moscow wants to achieve its goal through ignoring Georgia’s demand, moreover the Russian FM states that Russia will become a WTO member without Georgia’s consent.

Usually, all existing WTO members must give their consent individually to a new applicant. Despite this fact Moscow hopes that it will join the organisation through general voting, thus ignoring Georgia's position.

At the moment the situation stands as follows: Georgia is not going to change its position, so the WTO has two options, either the organisation should reject Russian claims or deviate from its charter and existing practice. Generally the WTO wants Russia’s economy to join it. Moreover, the west is concerned that in case of refusing Russia entry to the WTO, president-elect Vladimir Putin will totally reject the WTO and try to create some alternative organization such as the recently promoted Eurasian union involving former Soviet Union countries where Moscow has a leading role. Analysts suggest that most probably Russia will be accepted into the WTO despite Georgian demands.