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Opposition UNM Wants Details of Georgia-Russia Cargo Monitoring Deal Published

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, December 22
(TBILISI)—Georgia’s main opposition party, the United National Movement (UNM), has called on the government to publicize the details of anew Georgia-Russia deal on customs administration and trade monitoring.

The UNM claims the agreement is a threat to national security and boosts Russia’s interests in the South Caucasus region.

Georgia and Russia signed an agreement on Cargo Movement Monitoring on November 9, 2011, with Switzerland signing on as a guarantor.

The two countries agreed to involve a neutral company to monitor the movement of goods, as Georgia and Russia cut diplomatic ties after 2008 August war.

The Swiss governments was tasked with selecting the neutral third party in consultation with Georgia and the Russian Federation.

The agreement envisages carrying out the monitoring of cargo movement through three trade corridors, two of which run through the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and the third one at the Zemo Larsi-Kazbegi border crossing point on the undisputed section of the Georgia-Russia border.

UNM MP Roman Gotsiridze says it is important that the public fully understands the details of the deal. He says the movement of cargo through Georgia’s Russian-occupied Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions, without recognizing Georgia’s sovereignty over these territories, undermines Georgia’s territorial integrity.

“There have been made some changes to the deal, so the government has to immediately publicize it to let us see the details,” Gotsiridze said.

Member of the majority, Giorgi Volsky reiterated that the agreement will not undermine the state interests.

On December 19, Georgia signed a contract with Switzerland’s SGS (Societe Generale de Surveillance SA), which will ensure the monitoring of the agreement made between Georgia and Russia.

Georgia’s Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze said Thursday that Georgia’s deal with SGS will ensure the implementation of the 2011 Russia-Georgia contract and will not include any additional changes or responsibilities for either parties.

For practical realization of the agreement, the Russian Federation should also sign the contract with the neutral Swiss company.