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EU Diplomat: Tbilisi, Moscow Close to WTO Deal
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 28 Oct.'11 / 16:46

EU is “very pleased that Russia and Georgia appear to be close to an agreement which, in our view, will strongly benefit both sides,” Philip Dimitrov, head of the EU delegation in Tbilisi, said on October 28.

“We give full support to the Swiss-mediated efforts that recently made finding the solution likely. The European Union would very much like to see a decision on Russia's accession to WTO ministerial this year,” Dimitrov said in a written statement.

“We encourage the parties to finalise the deal in the coming days,” he added.

The statement comes a day after Georgia announced that in the Swiss-mediated talks with Russia it had accepted the final compromise proposal tabled by the mediator. 

Russian negotiator said that Moscow would give its response to the Swiss-proposal next week.

Exact details of the proposal remain sketchy.

One of the Georgian negotiators, Deputy Foreign Minister, Sergi Kapanadze, says that compromise proposal envisages two basic components, which Georgia believes are important for transparent trade across the disputed borders – international monitoring and electronic data exchange.

He said that according to the proposal international observers will be deployed on the both ends of “trade corridors” – areas that will be defined by their geographic coordinates not by names in an attempt to keep a status-neutral approach. He said that according to the proposal monitors would be stationed on the both ends of these corridors.

The New York Times reported citing Secretary of Georgia’s National Security Council, Giga Bokeria, that the Swiss compromise offers to place observers from private firms on both the Russian and Georgian sides of the border — though not inside the breakaway regions — to monitor cargo. The contractors will be hired by neutral third parties, like Switzerland or the European Union, according to Bokeria.

Initially Georgia wanted to have its customs officers on the Abkhaz and South Ossetian sections of its border with Russia; then it was pushing for having international monitors, preferably from the EU.

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