Russia hopes to finish WTO talks by yearend

Russia hopes to finish talks on gaining membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO) by the end of the year, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Sunday.

Medvedev, who is accepting in Moscow Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey, said that apart from the Russian-Swiss relations he would discuss “a situation about Russia’s accession to the WTO” since Switzerland is a mediator in Russia’s WTO accession talks.

“I hope that today’s talks will be successful and…Russia will join the WTO till the end of the year,” Calmy-Rey said.

“We would also like it,” Medvedev added.

Russia has been in membership talks with the 153-nation WTO for 17 years and remains the only major economy still outside the organization. A dispute with Georgia remains the main stumbling block that hinders the country’s joining the global trade body.

Last week Tbilisi offered Moscow new conditions on accepting its WTO membership bid.

The new deal proposed by Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergi Kapanadze involves setting up a neutral monitor to oversee the sale of goods involving the former Georgian republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Moscow said it needed time to study the offer.


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