Georgia could still block Russia's accession to WTO - Kremlin aide
There is still a possibility that Georgia could block the Russian bid to join the World Trade Organization (WTO), but Russia hopes for support of other countries on this issue, a senior Kremlin official said on Sunday, RIA Novosti reported.
"The problem [with Georgia] still remains," presidential economic adviser Arkady Dvorkovich told reporters on the sidelines of the 2010 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Japan's Yokohama.
"However, all those who support Russia's WTO bid will help us to achieve our goal," Dvorkovich said, reiterating that Russia will most likely join the organization by the end of 2011.
Relations between Russia and Georgia have been sour since a five-day war between the two former Soviet countries in August 2008, which began when Georgian forces attacked the republic of South Ossetia in an attempt to bring it back under central control.
Georgian Prime Minister Nikoloz Gilauri said on October 7 that his country would not support Russia's WTO bid unless the two states agreed on customs procedures for Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which Russia recognized as independent after the war.
However, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Sunday acknowledged progress in the process of Russia's accession to the WTO and thanked the U.S. government for support of the Russian bid.
"We have made very serious progress lately in the WTO accession issues," Medvedev said after a closed-door meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the 2010 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Japan's Yokohama.
"I hope that this work will continue, and Russia will soon join the WTO," the Russian president said.
Russia, the only major economy outside the global trade body, has been seeking WTO membership since 1993.