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Georgia Hardens Stance on Russia’s WTO Membership
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 24 Nov.'05 / 19:36

Georgian Economy Minister Irakli Chogovadze said on November 24 that Georgia plans to put forth a number of new demands which Russia will have to meet if Moscow wants to secure Tbilisi’s consent on Russia’s membership into the World Trade Organization (WTO), the News Georgia agency reported.

All decisions regarding a country’s WTO membership have to be agreed upon by consensus among all member states.

Minister Chogovadze said that Georgia will demand that its custom officers be deployed at the Roki tunnel, which links breakaway South Ossetia with the Russian Federation, as well as at the Adleri-Leselidze border checkpoint in breakaway Abkhazia.

“We have several demands for the Russian side and if they are met, this will enable Russia to become a WTO member.” Irakli Chogovadze was quoted by the News Georgia agency as saying.

The Georgian Economy Minister’s statement comes ahead of the WTO Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong scheduled for December 13-18.

The statement can also be regarded as a change in Tbilisi’s position regarding Russia’s WTO membership.
Last May, former Georgian Economic Minister Irakli Rekhviashvili signed an agreement in Tbilisi with Russian Economy Minister German Gref which gave Georgia’s go-ahead for Russia’s accession to the WTO.

This agreement was signed after the Georgian Parliament suspended a December 5, 2002 resolution which required the Georgian government to veto Russia’s WTO accession.

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