Senior U.S. administration officials, who met with Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov in Washington on October 3, expressed hope that ongoing Georgia-Russia WTO talks would be successful.
“The Vice President affirmed U.S. support for Russia’s accession to the WTO and commended Deputy Prime Minister Shuvalov on Russia’s significant progress in the accession process,” the White House said in a statement after Vice President Joe Biden met with Shuvalov.
“In this regard, the Vice President encouraged the successful conclusion of ongoing talks between Russia and Georgia with respect to Russia’s WTO accession,” the White House said.
U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, who also met with Shuvalov, expressed “confidence that remaining issues, including satisfactory resolution of bilateral discussions between Russia and Georgia, would be addressed constructively and in a manner enabling Russia to meet its objective of concluding the WTO negotiations by the end of the year,” Ambassador Kirk’s office said.
Next round of the Swiss-mediated talks between Russia and Georgia on Moscow’s WTO entry terms will be held on October 7-8.
“Unfortunately we do not expect any radical changes in Russia’s inflexible position and it is not expected that Russia will demonstrate flexibility in respect of those issues, which are so important for us,” Davit Jalagania, the Georgian deputy foreign minister, said at a press conference on October 3.
He said that if Georgia’s outstanding concerns remain unaddressed by the Russian side “to say it bluntly we won’t be able to help to resolve the issue of Russia’s WTO accession at this round of negotiations and in the best case it is probably expected that the dialogue will continue next year.”
Tbilisi insists on transparency of trade across the disputed borders in breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia through exchange of advance cargo information and international monitoring of border crossing points.