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Tuesday, 24 April 2018


Mikheil’s second WTO chance

2011-03-15 18:56

14639.jpegPositions of Saakashvili's regime in the international arena were considerably shattered after Washington's decision to start a "reset" with Moscow. A recent statement by US vice president Joe Biden that Russia's WTO entry is America's strategic goal made things even worse for Mishiko. After the fiasco of Russian-Georgian talks in Bern, Russian FM Sergey Lavrov said Tbilisi's consent is not needed at all. If this is true, it means that the Georgian president has completely lost all support of the White House and is now politically dead.  


A new round of talks between Tbilisi and Moscow is scheduled for April. The Georgian president has less than a month to think how to complete them without bringing shame on himself in the eyes of his compatriots. Georgians will not forgive national humiliation any more. Now that Russian FM directly stated that Tbilisi's obstinacy will not be an obstacle for Moscow's entry into WTO - it's likely to be the outcome.

 "We have a very simple criterion to follow on WTO issue: WTO has its norms, standards and criteria to admit countries as members of this global organization. We meet these demands in good faith as far as all spheres of negotiations are concerned. If our Georgian colleagues keep sticking to this politicized position we will have to solve the WTO accession issue without their involvement. And we have such an opportunity", - Sergey Lavrov said recently on Channel 3. - Yesterday Joe Biden reconfirmed that on behalf of the United States. The EU is also interested in our prompt accession into WTO which is to common benefit, as Russia and our Western partners understand. We told them that if they have this interest, they must convince Tbilisi to stop hampering Russia's WTO accession".

Sergey Lavrov's message was clear to Tbilisi, judging by Georgian deputy FM Nino Kalandadze's reaction. "WTO Charter stipulates accession of a new country on the basis of full consensus. Simultaneously the same document states that a country can be admitted when another country resists. Yet this option remains unprecedented so far, and we doubt that the organization will agree to have this precedent", - Nino Kalandadze said at a briefing today.

It sounds like a rather puffed-up statement though. On one hand, this case is unprecedented, it's true. On the other hand, the situation into which Mikheil Saakashvili dragged the entire world community has no precedents either. Accession of one of the world's largest economies into WTO favored by other members of this trade organization and pressed for by its key players, i.e. the United States and the European Union, is blocked by one member on the basis of claims that have nothing to do with WTO. This all undermines this player's ability to act as a responsible partner in international affairs. Though certainly, there is little to be said about Saakashvili regime's responsibility: adventurism of the Georgian president was a shock to American and European politicians more than once.

This time even official Tbilisi seems to understand that it all smells of trouble as seen from a mild reaction of the Georgian foreign office to Sergey Lavrov's statement, as Nino Kalandadze referred: "The Georgian side does not lay down demands that contradict WTO requirements. Talks with Russia are a long process and we hope we will manage to bring our positions closer, - the deputy FM remarked. - The Georgian side is ready to be constructive in dealing with Russia without bargaining over the political issues".

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