Russia's WTO talks with Georgia fail again: Tbilisi

20th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

The latest round of talks between foes Georgia and Russia on the latter's WTO membership failed to reach a breakthrough on Thursday but will resume again next week, a Georgian official said.

"The talks failed again. We have not come to an agreement," Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergi Kapanadze told AFP after taking part in the negotiations in Switzerland.

Tbilisi has been demanding international monitoring of cross-border trade in the Russian-backed breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which were recognised as independent states by Moscow after the Georgia-Russia war in 2008 but are regarded by most of the world as parts of Georgian territory.

"The other side (Russia) does not agree but the talks will reconvene next week and we hope for progress then," Kapanadze said.

Ex-Soviet Georgia's conditions for agreeing to allow its powerful neighbour to join the World Trade Organization have threatened to derail Russia's efforts to finally become a member.

As a WTO member, Georgia has the right to veto any new entrant and Tbilisi has been keen to use one of its few levers of international influence amid its continuing disputes with Moscow.

Russia, which opened negotiations to join in 1993, is the largest economy in the world to remain outside the WTO and has long expressed frustration with delays in its accession bid.

© 2011 AFP

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