Russia’s Medvedev sees WTO deal ‘this year’
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Sunday he hoped to see Moscow join the World Trade Organisation by the end of the year after apparent progress in accession talks with last holdout nation Georgia.
Medvedev met Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey — whose country has mediated talks between Russia and its neighbour — for previously unannounced talks at his suburban Moscow residence.
The meeting came three days after Georgia accepted a “final proposal” from the mediators that could finally bring a positive end to Russia’s 18-year campaign to join the world’s premier free trade club.
“We will discuss our bilateral relations. But of course, we would also like to discuss the situation developing around Russia’s membership in the WTO,” news agencies quoted Medvedev as saying at the start of the meeting.
Calmy-Rey replied that she hoped her visit would have the end result of allowing Russia — the world’s largest economy outside the WTO — to join by the end of the year.
“We would also like to see that happen,” Medvedev was quoted as saying in reply.
Russia previously said it would give its response to the terms accepted by Georgia next week.
Ex-Soviet Georgia had been demanding international monitoring of cross-border trade in the Russian-backed breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Georgian officials say the proposed compromise deal would see a private company contracted by a third international party physically and electronically monitoring goods entering and leaving the breakaway regions.