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Calls for ‘Creative Solution’ in Georgia’s Dispute over Russia WTO Entry
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 20 Oct.'10 / 17:18

Moscow recognizes that “some sort of creative solution” needs to be applied to remove Georgia’s objection to Russia’s WTO membership, an economic adviser to U.S. President Barack Obama said on October 20, without elaborating how the issue can be resolved.

Lawrence Summers, an outgoing director of President Obama’s National Economic Council, who held talks with Russian officials in Moscow, said that Russia’s bid to join WTO may be successfully completed within a year.

He also said that Georgia’s position on the matter was raised during his “enormously constructive” talks with Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister, Igor Shuvalov, Reuters reported.

Georgian senior officials, including PM Nika Gilauri, have reiterated for number of times recently, that Georgia supports Russia’s WTO accession, but with one condition – Russia should follow WTO rules, they said.

In particular, the Georgian officials say that they want Russia to make customs checkpoints located in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two breakaway regions which Russia has recognized as independent states, "transparent".

Georgian State Minister for Reintegration, Temur Iakobashvili, told journalists on October 20, that Georgia was ready to consider any proposal on how to resolve dispute on Russia’s WTO entry, provided that “the principles are observed.”

“Georgia has reasonable position. We demand from Russia to follow the rules of the organization, which it wants to join. We are ready to discuss any proposals, which Russia or the United States may offer. The important thing here is that the principle should be observed,” he said.

The White House announced earlier this month that the U.S. and Russia made the "substantial progress" in resolving bilateral issues and that Russia had taken "significant steps" toward joining WTO.

"President Obama pledged to support Russia's efforts to complete remaining steps in multilateral negotiations so that Russia could join the WTO as soon as possible," the White House said in a statement after a phone conversation between the Russian and U.S. Presidents on October 1.

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