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The News in Brief

Monday, December 19
Russia admitted into World Trade Organisation

Russia was admitted into the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on Friday (December 16) after 18 years of negotiation, finally binding it into the global economy two decades after the Soviet Union collapsed.

Russia`s $1.9 trillion economy was the largest outside the WTO, and accession will help reduce its dependence on energy exports that left it cruelly exposed to the oil price collapse of 2008.

Accession by Russia, with the second-largest nuclear arsenal after that of the United States, into a rules-based club should also help limit dangers of a repeat of regional conflicts like its 2008 war with Georgia.

Trade conflicts have repeatedly exacerbated tensions between Moscow and Tbilisi.

Russia now has six months to ratify its membership and will become a member 30 days later.

Even by the standards of trade talks, Russia`s negotiations have been tortuous, suffering a series of reverses during the 12-year-old rule of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, now planning a return to the presidency he held from 2000-08.

Negotiations were close to a result in 2009 when Putin, frustrated at additional demands from existing members, launched a regional trade bloc that torpedoed the accession process.

Talks resumed in earnest only in late 2010 and achieved a critical breakthrough in October when Russia finalised terms with the United States and the European Union.

Agreement on a Swiss-brokered border monitoring deal for two Georgian regions that broke away after a brief Russian-Georgian war in August 2008 cleared the final stumbling block to a deal.
(Rustavi 2)

Another contemporary medical center opens in Ozurgeti, Western Georgia

Another medical center equipped with contemporary fittings was opened in Ozurgeti district of Guria Region in Western Georgia on Friday. The center aims to give medical service to the local population of the whole region.

The new center is one of 30 objects, which are to be opened within the hospital sector development program from December 2011 onwards.

The Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili opened the hospital. Prior to opening the clinic, Saakashvili met the locals and talked to them.

In Ozurgeti, the president also met representatives of the local authorities. Saakashvili said 2012 should turn into a development year for Guria Region, as significant funds should be invested in the region for the purpose of improving infrastructure and tourism there.

Furthermore, construction of a regional training center for people of all ages is also planned in the region.

After the meeting, Saakashvili walked around the town of Ozurgeti and arrived at St. Mary`s cathedral, where he met the archbishop of the region and other clergymen.
(Rustavi 2)

Georgian Party and Movement for United Georgia Merge

The Movement for a United Georgia and the Georgian Party united. As InterPressNews was told by the Georgian Party’s spokesperson Lia Kamladze, both parties will merge under one title at a congress Sunday and it will be called the “Georgian Party".

The chairperson, co-chairpersons and political council of the party will be selected at the meeting.

Kamladze says the leader of the Movement for a United Georgia was actor Ramaz Ioseliani.

The Movement for a Untied Georgia was a quite strong party and it will fight for victory in elections with the Georgian Party, Kamladze said.