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Russia, Georgia Hold WTO Talks
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 11 Jul.'11 / 13:50

Georgian and Russian negotiators held third round of the Swiss-mediated talks over terms of Russia’s WTO accession in Geneva on July 9-10, the Georgian Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

“This time the parties into the talks invited at the negotiating table experts of customs affairs,” Nino Kalandadze, the Georgian deputy foreign minister, said on July 11 without going further into details, citing an agreement not to speak with the press about the ongoing negotiations.

She said that the sides had agreed to hold next round of talks by the end of this month.

President Saakashvili said in an interview with Ekho Moskvy radio station on July 8, that Tbilisi insisted on international monitoring of trade on the border crossing points between Russia and Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

He said that accepting Tbilisi's demand for international monitoring of trade across disputed border would be "minimal price" for Russia to pay for joining WTO.

"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.

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