According to the Georgian Foreign Ministry, Georgia will support Russia’s WTO membership only if Moscow helps Tbilisi restore control over the Roki Tunnel, which links Georgia’s breakaway South Ossetia with the Russian Federation, as well as contron over the Adleri-Leselidze border checkpoint with Russia - in breakaway Abkhazia.
On February 21 First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Valeri Chechelashvili held a meeting with Ambassadors of the WTO member states accredited in Georgia.
“The Georgian side passed notes to the Ambassadors with the request to support Georgia’s position at the multilateral negotiations proceeding within the frames of the Working Group on Russia’s accession into the WTO,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry said.
During the meeting, the Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister underlined that these demands by Georgia are economically motivated. Tbilisi claims that the Roki Tunnel in South Ossetia is a main source of smuggling, as it remains out of the Georgian government’s control.
The Georgian side also demand that Russia intensifys the fight against falsified Georgia products - mainly wine - on the Russian market, as well as gives up the practice of unilateral banning imports of Georgian agricultural products.
A similar position by Tbilisi was outlined by Georgian Economy Minister Irakli Chogovadze at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong in December, 2005.