Announcing a deal with Russia on its bid to join the World Trade Organization, the EU trade commissioner called on Tbilisi and Moscow to resolve their WTO-related dispute soon.
"We have struck a deal on the final outstanding bilateral issues, leaving the way open for Russia to join the WTO by the end of this year," Karel De Gucht, the EU trade commissioner, said. "There is now very little time left to reach a bilateral agreement between Georgia and Russia. I call on both parties to continue their efforts to find a solution in a spirit of compromise. The EU is ready to offer whatever help is necessary to resolve the issue," he added. Georgia said the last round of the Swiss-mediated talks with Russia failed to bring any progress as Moscow was still resisting measures necessary for "full transparency of trade across the disputed borders in breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia." The next round of talks are planned for early next week. Meanwhile in Moscow, Russia's Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, again suggested that there was a way for Russia to join the WTO without Georgia's green light. “Following strictly the WTO’s documents, Georgia’s position is not an obstacle. There are ways to act so that our trade obligations towards all the WTO members do not apply to Georgia,” Lavrov said in an interview with three Russian radio stations.