Georgia Offers Russia Conditions for WTO Approval

Posted October 26th, 2011 at 6:40 pm (UTC-5)
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Georgia says it has offered Russia new conditions for approving Moscow's bid to join the World Trade Organization.

Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergi Kapanadze said Wednesday that Tbilisi has proposed international monitoring of trade in Georgia's two breakaway regions, Abkhasia and South Ossetia.

Kapanadze is the head of a Georgian delegation meeting with Russian counterparts for Swiss-mediated talks in Geneva.

Russia has been negotiating to join the WTO for 18 years. Georgia is the only state standing in the way of Russia's WTO membership. Under WTO rules, any of the 153 members can block a new country by vetoing it.

Negotiations between Russia and Georgia have broken down so far because of Tbilisi's insistence that Russia provide access to trade information in the two breakaway regions.

South Ossetia and Abkhazia declared independence from Georgia and have Russia's support. They refuse to give Georgia the information on their international trade.

Russia, which is the largest economy still outside the group, has the support of the United States and the European Union in reaching its goal of joining the WTO by the end of the year.