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Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov (file photo) (ITAR-TASS) March 13, 2006 -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused the United States of delaying Russia's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO).


In an interview published on March 13 in the daily "Vremya novostei," Lavrov said that he saw a "political subtext in the position of the American negotiators."


He said he thought Washington expected more from Russia than it did from other candidates.


Russia and the WTO have been discussing membership for over a decade. Only the United States and Columbia have not yet signed the bilateral agreements that would seal Russia's entry into the WTO.


The main stumbling block in the talks with the United States is access to Russia's financial markets.

WTO Status Of RFE/RL Broadcast Countries

An exhibition of the history of the WTO in Singapore in 1996 (courtesy photo)

WTO Members:
Armenia: Joined on 5 February 2003.
Croatia: Joined on 30 November 2000.
Georgia: Joined on 14 June 2000.
Kyrgyzstan: Joined on 20 December 1998.
Macedonia: Joined on 4 April 2003.
Moldova: Joined on 26 July 2001.
Romania: Joined on 1 January 1995.

Countries That Are Not Yet WTO Members:
Afghanistan: Submitted its application in November 2004.
Azerbaijan: Submitted its application in June 1997.
Bosnia-Herezgovina: Submitted its application in May 1999.
Belarus: Submitted its application in September 1993.
Iran: Submitted its application in July 1996.
Iraq: Submitted its application in September 2004.
Kazakhstan: Submitted its application in January 1996.
Russia: Submitted its application in June 1993.
Serbia and Montenegro: Submitted separate applications in December 2004.
Tajikistan: Submitted its application in May 2001.
Ukraine: Submitted its application in November 1993.
Uzbekistan: Submitted its application in December 1994.

For more information, click here.

For an exclusive RFE/RL interview with former WTO head MICHAEL MOORE,click here.

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