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Negotiations on WTO failed at a positive point2011-04-04 22:35
The first round of negotiations between Moscow and Tbilisi on Russia's entrance in WTO that started on March 9 in the Swiss Bern ended in nothing. The two countries' delegations only agreed on resuming discussions in April. Russian party characterized the outcome as a failure but Georgian officials preferred softer wording. Now Deputy Foreign Minister Nino Kalandadze has stated that negotiations are held "in a positive way". Still, Mikhail Saakashvili's latest statements confirm the Russians' rightness.
The totally different assessments of the negotiating process voiced by Moscow and Tbilisi officials make one doubt whether these negotiations are necessary at all. On one hand, it was Moscow that initiated the resumption of the discussion on Russia's entrance in WTO. On the other hand, it is more and more obvious that it is Tbilisi that mainly needs these diplomatic courtesies.
"If our Georgian neighbours start raising such issues as the resumption of the Georgian customs and border control on the borders of South Ossetia and Russia, as they have publicly threatened, then this way is hopeless. These issues have nothing to do with WTO, - head of the Russian foreign policy administration Sergey Lavrov stated soon after the Bern talks were over. - If our Georgian colleagues persist in their politicized position, we will probably have to solve the issue of Russia's joining WTO some other way, without them. We've got such opportunities".
The words of the Russian minister were immediately responded to by Nino Kalandadze. "It's a pity Russian media made a biased statement that the negotiations have failed. This is a purposeful campaign aimed at disrupting them", - Deputy Minister of the head of Georgian MFA declared.
Why should Moscow disrupt negotiations that were initiated by it? But the answer to this question is very simple. Earlier, Georgia's position was valuable but it was just one of the obstacles on Russia's way to the World Trade Organization, while now Tbilisi's stubbornness is the only obstacle on this way. Besides, Saakashvili use to benefit from Moscow's difficulties with Washington, Beijing and other WTO participants, while now Georgia itself has turned into a sticking point for the grand players in the global politics and economy who would be glad to see Russia among the members of the trade organization. That is why Tbilisi naturally became an object of diplomatic pressure on their part.
"USA and EU are very interested in Russia's entrance in WTO because it will bring good to everyone. Our western partners realize that. We told them that if they've got a certain interest, they should persuade Tbilisi that Georgians must stop making false problems, for they've got a greater influence over Tbilisi. I believe the issue will be settled", - Sergey Lavrov commented on the current situation.
Of course, Washington could not openly make its Caucasian ally totally reconsider its relationship with Russia. That is why it distanced itself from negotiations on WTO. But the fact that the Kremlin decided to start negotiations with Saakashvili's regime means that it has got the White House's support. That is the reason for Sergey Lavrov's rhetoric about the entrance in the trade organization despite Georgia's resistance. It is quite possible that these negotiations were planned as the American satellite's last chance to save face. That is why Moscow was satisfied with any result. Since Mishiko once again displayed mulish obstinacy refusing to agree to a mutually acceptable compromise, Russian party has got no reason to play the Bern comedy any longer.