Two U.S. Republican senators urged the Obama administration to fully consider interests of Georgia before endorsing Russia’s membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO).
In a letter sent to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Senators Roy Blunt and James Inhofe say: “It should not come as any surprise that Georgian leaders are insisting on maintaining at least some semblance of territorial integrity through the customs process.”
“Without such recognition, agreeing to Russian WTO accession could be considered tantamount to international ratification of a new border arrangement imposed by Russia through force of arms. We fail to see how this outcome could possibly be in the United States’ national interest,” the Senators’ letter reads.
The call came just ahead of the Swiss-mediated talks on October 20 between Georgia and Russia on Moscow's WTO entry terms.
“The Georgian government has publicly stated that it cannot agree to any WTO accession by Russia that falls short of human (as opposed to exclusively electronic) monitors on Georgia’s internationally-recognized borders [in breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia]. Georgia has conceded that these officials can be international, rather than Georgian, customs officials,” the letter says.
Russian President, Dmitri Medvedev, said on October 19, that Russia “will survive” if it fails to join WTO.
“Of course we are ready for [WTO membership], but ff we are told that we are not fit for it for some reason, we will survive. This is absolutely obvious and I am absolutely sincere,” RIA Novosti reported quoting Medvedev.
“Everyone should understand, including our partners in the process of WTO accession, that this is not only in Russia’s interests. This is in the interests of various businesses, foreign business and in the interests of proper regulation of international trade flows. This is two-way street,” he added.