Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the problem “created” by Georgia over Russia’s WTO accession “is political” and reiterated that Moscow could join the organization bypassing Tbilisi.
“We are still holding Swiss-mediated consultations with the Georgian side. Essentially, the problem created by Georgia is only political one. All the rest is related to WTO rules, which is possible to be resolved at the level of experts,” Lavrov said in the interview with Russian newspaper, Moskovskiye Novosti, published on May 12.
He said that he would again reiterate what he had already said previously twice, that WTO accession procedures made it possible to join the organization through vote in case of absence of a consensus.
“Georgian counterparts have described my comments in this regard as a whim. But, probably, those people who did so are not familiar with WTO documents and do not know that even such a precedent exists. WTO rules make it possible to joining the organization through vote,” Lavrov said, apparently referring to Ecuador’s case, when accession decision was adopted by the WTO’s General Council by a two-thirds majority.
Georgian Foreign Minister, Grigol Vashadze, said in April that his Russian counterpart’s remarks that Russia may join WTO without Georgia’s consent were “blackmail and bluff.”