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Georgian Premier Says CIS Withdrawal Not On Agenda

Wine-bottling production line owned by Tbilghvino (InterPressNews) April 11, 2006 -- Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Noghaideli says his government is not considering reviewing ties with the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), despite Russia's recent decision to ban all wine imports from Georgia.

Earlier in the day, the speaker of parliament, Nino Burjanadze, had said Georgia might reconsider its membership in the grouping of post-Soviet states if Russia did not lift the ban soon.

During a tour of a wine-bottling facility in Tbilisi, Noghaideli said that he understood the criticism of the CIS by Burjanadze and other lawmakers, but said "the issue of whether [Georgia should] withdraw from the CIS is not on the agenda."

Russia halted all wine imports from Georgia and Moldova on March 27 on the grounds that they contained pesticides and other chemicals.

Tbilisi and Chisinau argue the move is politically motivated.

Noghaideli also said he had hoped to raise the issue during a trip to Moscow on April 12-13. However, he said delays in setting an agenda for discussions have forced the sides to put off the visit.

(Civil Georgia, Novosti-Gruziya, Imedi TV)

RFE/RL Caucasus Report

RFE/RL Caucasus Report

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