Russia fails to agree on WTO entry with Georgia



Russia failed to reach an agreement on its accession to the World Trade Organization at Thursday's bilateral talks with Georgia , the head of Russia 's delegation at the talks said.

Georgia said Wednesday it would cease to block Russia 's bid to join the global trade body only after Moscow honors its 2004 commitment to close down checkpoints on its border with Georgia 's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia . But Maxim Medvedkov insisted that this was not a WTO-related issue.

Medvedkov said: "We have agreed with Georgia to continue dialogue, we will exchange correspondence and probably meet in a month to six weeks."

Following six-hour talks, Georgia 's deputy economics minister Tamar Kovziridze reiterated Wednesday's statements by the country's foreign and economics ministers.

"The conditions under which we will give our consent to Russia 's accession to the WTO remain unchanged," she said.

However, Kovziridze said the Russian delegation had for the first time admitted that the operations of checkpoints on its border with Abkhazia and South Ossetia had never been coordinated with Georgia .

( RIA Novosti , May 31, 2007 )