Some Details of Possible Russia-Georgia WTO Deal
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 31 Oct.'11 / 22:57
  • 'Trade corridors' will also include Larsi border crossing point;
  • Switzerland to act as third party in monitoring component;
  • Swiss compromise proposal, tabled last week, 'not changed';

Zemo Larsi-Kazbegi border crossing point on the Georgian-Russian border, early October, 2011. Photo: Tea Gularidze/Civil.ge

Russia has requested "little more time" to give its response on a compromise proposal tabled by the Swiss mediators, Sergi Kapanadze, the Georgian deputy foreign minister, said after talks between the Georgian and Swiss presidents on Monday.

Kapanadze, who is one of the Georgian negotiators in the Swiss-mediated WTO talks with Russia and who attended the meeting between the Georgian and Swiss presidents, said that Russia was expected to give its response on November 1.

He said that the Monday's meeting between the Georgian leadership and the Swiss mediators in Georgia's Black Sea town of Batumi help "to clarify several important details".

It was agreed, he said, that Switzerland will act as a neutral, third party, which will hire a private company to monitor movement of cargo across the Russian-Georgian border, including on the disputed section of borders in breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Kapanadze said, that it was Russia's proposal to have Switzerland as the third, neutral country under whose "aegis the international monitors will operate."

"The proposal, which the Swiss mediators have offered last week remains unchanged," he said.

According to the Georgian officials the Swiss proposal envisages deployment of international monitors from a private company at the both ends of so called "trade corridors", but not inside of these corridors.
 
Trade corridors, which will be defined by their geographic coordinates not by names, lie through breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

It, however, emerged on Monday, that the proposal also envisages a third trade corridor on Zemo Larsi-Kazbegi border crossing point, which is on the undisputed section of the Georgian-Russian border, outside the breakaway regions.

It means, that if the proposal is enforced, monitors from a private company hired by Switzerland will be deployed on all three border crossing points between Russia and Georgia - two of them in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which are recognized by Russia as independent states and the third of them in Zemo Larsi-Kazbegi.

It is understood that in case of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, monitors will be deployed on the Russian side of its border with these two regions and another group of monitors will be deployed on the Georgian side of the administrative boundary line, meaning that they will not be stationed inside the breakaway regions. The third trade corridor on Zemo Larsi-Kazbegi will be much smaller where two groups of monitors will be deployed just immediately on the opposite sides of the border.

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