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Home >> World
UPDATED: 09:55, November 20, 2006
Georgia not ready to agree to Russia WTO deal: official
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Georgia will not support Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization at the moment as Russia has not fulfilled what Georgia considers as "crucial" conditions, a senior Georgian official said on Sunday.

"Without Georgia's consent, Russia cannot join this organization. And Georgia has not given its consent thus far," Vakhtang Lezhava, Deputy State Minister for Economic and Structural Reforms, was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying.

Georgia will give the go-ahead only if Moscow fulfills the agreement on the legalization of customs checkpoints on the Abkhazia and South Ossetia sectors of the border, Lezhava said.

"The issue of illegal customs checkpoints in Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region is of crucial importance to Georgia. If this term is not fulfilled, Georgia will not give its consent," Lezhava was quoted by Interfax as saying.

Speaking in Hanoi, where Russia and the United States signed a bilateral agreement on Moscow's entry into the WTO earlier in the day, Russian Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref said Moscow hoped to settle the problem with Tbilisi soon.

"Regarding Georgia, I think we'll find a settlement of this issue," Interfax quoted Gref as saying.

Russia -- the largest economy still outside the Geneva-based world trade body -- has been negotiating to join the WTO since 1993. Sunday's deal capped years of negotiations with the United States that had hit a snag over financial services and farm produce.

Source: Xinhua

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