Georgian expert: Georgia's uncompromising position on Russia's joining WTO may create inconvenience for its Western partners

Politics Materials 28 April 2011 18:39 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, April 28 / Trend E. Tariverdiyeva /
Georgia's uncompromising position on Russia's accession to the WTO may create inconvenience for its Western partners, Georgian expert Gia Khukhashvili told Trend.

"Georgia's position is too tough. Perhaps, it is just but the civilized world wants to see Russia in the WTO," he said. "Therefore, Tbilisi should be more flexible".
Moscow and Tbilisi will hold a second round of talks on Russia's accession to the WTO on April 29. The chief adviser for external relations to the Prime Minister Tamara Kovziridze will head the Georgian delegation as at the last meeting.

The disagreements with Georgia are an obstacle for Russia to join the World Trade Organization. According to the WTO rules, a new member of the organization must not have territorial disputes with other countries. Tbilisi insists on Georgian customs officers to be present at the customs checkpoints between Russia and Abkhazia, Russia and South Ossetia, which are de jure Georgian territory.

The Georgian expert thinks that while joining the WTO, Russia will be forced to fulfill these obligations that meet the interests of the civilized world.
"Georgia must understand that the interests of our partners are in this area," he said.

He said that there was no precedent of any country's joining the WTO without a consensus. So, it is unlikely to be applied towards Russia.

"But I would like to stress that Georgia must take into account the interests of its partners and make intelligent decisions," he said.

Khukhashvili also touched on the statement of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that Russia will join the WTO without Georgia's consent.

"These are deliberate statements," he said. "On the one hand, they are aimed at causing controversy between Western partners and Georgia because of its uncompromising and tough policy. On the other hand, Russia discusses the WTO accession. Not all agree with it, fearing the further obligations".

Russia may join the WTO without Georgia's consent, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in Sukhumi on April 26, RIA Novosti reported.

The Russian economy is the only leading world economy. It is not included in the WTO. The consent of all its 153 members is required. Russia is trying to become a WTO member since 1993.

In late April 2008, Georgia came out of the talks on Russia's joining the WTO, protesting against the order of the Russian president to lift the economic sanctions against Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The WTO talks between Georgia and Russia were resumed in March this year.