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Saakashvili on WTO Talks with Russia
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 9 Jul.'11 / 02:46

Accepting Tbilisi's demand for international monitoring of trade across disputed border will be "minimal price" for Russia to pay for joining the World Trade Organization, President Saakashvili said in an interview with the Ekho Moskvy radio station on July 8.

"We do not want to resolve all of our problems at the expense of [Russia's] WTO [accession]," Saakashvili said. "We understand it very well that we should not expect any serious changes for better under the present leadership in Russia and we should not expect de-occupation of our territories unless present stance is maintained in the Kremlin."

"But we would like that any of the international organization... to control movement of good across the Georgian borders [in breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia], which are recognized by the entire responsible international community," he said.

"I think this is a minimal price for Russia to pay" for joining WTO, Saakashvili added.

He said that the World Customs Organization (WCO), EU or any regional organization, "where there are at least several serious countries", could be chosen for carrying out monitoring on border crossing points at Psou and Roki Tunnel in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, respectively. 

Russia, however, "refuses to carry out serious negotiate with us," Saakashvili added.

He also said that initially Russia was hoping that Tbilisi would have been pushed by its western allies to agree on Moscow's WTO entry, but "it has been explained to the Russia authorities very well by other countries, that it is up to them to settle this issue."

"In this regard I hope that at least to some extent, because of pragmatic reasons, the Russian [authorities] will come to that [position]," Saakashvili said.

Georgia and Russia held two rounds of Swiss-mediated talks over Russia's WTO entry terms since March, 2011.

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