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Onishenko gives green light to Borjomi

29.08.2011  |  22:27

Onishenko gives green light to Borjomi. 21361.jpegGennady Onishenko in charge of the Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor) gives green light to Georgian wines and famous Borjomi water. Sakartvelo's products, already forgotten, are likely to return to the Russian market before the end of the year. The only thing to be done is standard quality control. Kakha Kukava, Free Georgia party leader and Vladimir Homeriki, vice president of the All-World Congress of Nations of Georgia, both participants of today's


consultations, told GeorgiaTimes about the meeting with Russia's chief sanitary doctor.

Talks about the return of Saperavi, Kindzmarauli, Hvanchkara and Borjomi to Russia have been on since spring. In March Gennady Onishenko, head of the Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare, spoke about a possibility to lift embargo on the Caucasian republic. "If we get an impulse from Georgia's business associations we will consider this issue with quality as the sole criterion", - he emphasized remarking that Russian specialists should first evaluate manufacturing facilities and carry out laboratory control of products.

Besides, Moscow expressed readiness to offer a preferential regime to Georgian goods. As the Russian foreign ministry stated, in view of Georgia's secession from the CIS a large number of documents on multilateral cooperation are no more valid for this country. "However Russia will continue to demonstrate good will and consider practical issues of relations with Georgia in a constructive key", - Russian diplomats emphasized.

Official Tbilisi, still obsessed with an unhealthy desire to politicize any issue connected with Russia, ignored these signals from Moscow. However, the initiative was grabbed by representatives of the opposition. Kakha Kukava, leader of Free Georgia party has been to the capital of Russia for several times already to meet Gennady Onishenko. During talks, head of Rospotrebnadzor reiterated that return of Georgian goods to Russia should be transferred from a political to a technical level. "The remainder of the former Soviet Socialist republic, what Georgia is now, suddenly started calling out opinions at a level of government that Georgian manufacturers would never agree to that. What kind of government should this be to keep their manufacturers from entering the Russian market and selling? - he remarked justly. - Russia's official position is that we will meet everyone who wants to come to the Russian market, but let's stop discussing this issue politically. It's high time to tackle the technical side of the problem and get down to real work".

It looks like this work has already started. Following the results of today's consultations in Moscow it was reported that before New Year Georgian wine and mineral water would come back to Russian stores. As Vladimir Homeriki, vice-president of the All-World Congress of Nations of Georgia said in an interview with GeorgiaTimes, the meeting was positive and constructive. "The meeting is in line with interests of Georgian people and naturally Russian consumers", - he remarked. - We clearly understand that Russia is ready to purchase wine and mineral water as well as Georgian agricultural produce. These issues are not politicized in Russia that wants to help Georgian manufacturers who want to produce and sell. Now Georgia has practically no markets. Russia's key concern is quality. If quality complies with standards: go ahead, do all necessary procedures and import, there is nobody in your way".

According to Homeriki, agreements that have been reached are crucially important since Georgian leaders are trying to negotiate and drive the issue to political conjuncture, WTO issues included. But these are not interconnected questions. "Russia shows good will and is attentive to numerous calls of the Georgian diaspora", - he added.

Kakha Kukava, leader of Free Georgia party, told in an interview for us that Moscow and Tbilisi are likely to become strategic allies soon, and this is not only today's meeting. "Everyone in Georgia saw an interview with Dmitry Medvedev who clearly said: problems are connected with Saakashvili. All other difficulties between Moscow and Tbilisi can be solved if there is a will. I think this is the right direction we are taking accepted by Russia's political circles. "Saakashvili will not govern Georgia forever; very soon our republic will have new leadership. And all problems that now seem very serious will be solved in a day's time, if there is a political will to do it", - Kukava stated

Answering a question if consensus over the return of Georgian products to Russia would influence tricky WTO talks, the oppositionist stated with regret that the decision on Moscow's membership in this organization is not taken by Georgia's general public, political parties or population. "The regime decides here. But even the West realizes all counter-productivity of this position", - Kukava explained. - Even the United States have explained to Saakashvili many times that WTO is not a political organization, and no political issues can be solved there. It is a place to discuss trade issues only."

Ruslan Chigoev

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