Washington encouraged by progress in Russia’s WTO entry talks

The United States has expressed hope for a successful and rapid completion of Russia’s WTO entry process, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said on Monday.

“Оur understanding is that the talks are going quite well. We’re encouraged by the progress. They’re not finished yet, however. The Georgians have accepted the Swiss proposal; the Russians are studying it. We’re working through some of the remaining issues, or the Swiss are. And we remain hopeful that this will be a good avenue for resolving the outstanding issues,” Nuland said.

Russian presidential aide Arkady Dvorkovich said on Monday that he expects a decision on Russia’s entry to be made during the WTO meeting at the level of ministers on December 15.

U.S. administration officials have repeatedly expressed support for Russia’s accession into the WTO before year-end.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev spoke with Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey on Sunday and Russia’s WTO negotiators held informal consultations with WTO representatives in Geneva last week.

Russia has been working to join the WTO since 1993. The last remaining obstacle to entry is Georgia, which has refused to okay Russia’s entry every since the two countries fought a brief war in August 2008.

Switzerland is mediating the WTO talks between Georgia and Russia, which resumed in March 2011.


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