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Georgia Toughens Stance On Russia's WTO Bid

Prime Minister Zurab Noghaideli (file photo) (AFP) 26 November 2005 -- Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Noghaideli has said that Tbilisi will set additional conditions prior to giving its consent to Russia's joining the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Georgian media today quoted Noghaideli as saying Tbilisi will demand that it be allowed to deploy customs officers near the Rokki tunnel that links its separatist republic of South Ossetia to Russia.

Georgia will also demand that it be granted the right to control the transit of goods across the border that separates its second breakaway republic -- Abkhazia -- from Russia's Krasnodar Krai.

Georgia's Economics Minister Irakli Chogovadze issued a similar warning earlier this week.

Georgia has been a WTO member since 2000. Russia hopes to join some time next year.

Any decision to accept new members into the organization must be supported by a two-thirds majority of WTO members.

(prime Gruziya)

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