Russia, US conclude WTO talks: Russian government
The Russian government said Friday that the United States and Russia had concluded negotiations on Moscow's admission to the World Trade Organization, which has been debated for years.
Russia's membership in the Geneva-based body that regulates global trade was discussed in a telephone conversation between Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and US President Barack Obama, Russian government spokeswoman Natalia Timakova said.
"The parties noted that, consistent with agreements reached during previous negotiations in Washington, bilateral negotiations on Russia's entry into the WTO had been completed," she said in comments carried by Russian news agencies.
Earlier Friday Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, speaking at a conference in the Ukraine, said Moscow and Washington had worked through all of the issues surrounding Russia's WTO admission.
"I can say today that we have cleared away all of the questions with the United States regarding Russia's entrance into the WTO," he said at the Yalta economic forum on the shores of the Black Sea in the Ukraine.
Russia will begin the accession process in two to four months and could "theoretically" join the Geneva-based body in 10 months, Kudrin said.
US Under Secretary of State William Burns said earlier this month that Russia was "closer than ever" to joining.
Russia has been in negotiations to join the WTO since 1993 and is the largest economy to remain a non-member. Moscow has repeatedly expressed frustration with the accession process and accused Washington of hindering it.
© 2010 AFP