Tbilisi waits for response from Moscow to latest WTO proposals

Tbilisi has agreed on a compromise proposal from Switzerland on the issue of Russia’s entry to the World Trade Organization and is waiting for a response from Moscow, the Georgian president’s spokeswoman, Manana Manjgaladze, said on Tuesday.

The Swiss proposal involves an international monitoring of goods crossing the borders of Abkhazia and South Ossetia with Russia. If this condition is satisfied, Georgia will agree to approve Russia’s WTO entry.

According to the Georgian Foreign Ministry, President Mikheil Saakashvili and Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey agreed on Monday that the international monitoring of the borders will be carried out under the auspices of the Swiss side.

“The Swiss Confederation, in particular, will be an international party which will conduct the monitoring,” the spokeswoman said.

She said that Georgia is on “standby” because the Russian side once again asked for extra time to make a decision.

Russia has been working to join the WTO since 1993. The last remaining obstacle for its entry is Georgia, which has refused to okay Russia’s entry every since the two countries fought a brief war in August 2008 when Georgia attacked South Ossetia to bring it back under Tbilisi’s central control. After the war, Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and another ex-Georgian republic, Abkhazia.


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