U.S. Department of State welcomes agreement between Russia, Georgia on WTO

The United States is satisfied with the agreement reached between the governments of Russia and Georgia on Russia’s admission to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said on Saturday.

Russia has endeavored to join the WTO since 1993. The last remaining obstacle to its admission is Georgia, which has refused to give Russia the go-ahead 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. Switzerland has sponsored the negotiations between the two countries, which severed diplomatic ties.

Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergi Kapanadze announced on Saturday the text of the agreement, which is produced in Switzerland, will not change.

Last week Tbilisi has agreed on a compromise proposal from Switzerland. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday that Moscow was also ready to accept the compromise on WTO accession.

The Swiss proposal involves an international monitoring of goods crossing the borders of Abkhazia and South Ossetia with Russia.

A WTO ministerial conference to consider Russia’s accession bid is expected to take place on December 15. If the bid is approved the accession documents will need to be ratified by the Russian parliament, and 30 days after ratification Russia will become a full-fledged member of the WTO.


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