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Russian Minister Says Bilateral WTO Round Finished

Russian Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref (file photo) (ITAR-TASS) January 27, 2007 -- Russian Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref says Russia has completed a round of bilateral talks on entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Speaking late on January 26, Gref said Moscow had signed the two remaining protocols to finish the round.

He also said Moscow hoped that Russia could complete all requisite negotiations this year.

That includes talks with Georgia, a WTO member which has withdrawn earlier bilateral approval for Russia's entry application and set rigid conditions for its acquiescence.

Gref said of talks with Georgia -- with whom Moscow has engaged in an intense series of trade and diplomatic spats in recent months -- that there were "some positive dynamics and a position in accord with our Georgian colleagues."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on January 26 accused Georgia of a "provocation" in connection with the case of a Russian national who was arrested and imprisoned in Georgia after allegedly trying to sell highly enriched uranium, which can be used to make a nuclear bomb. The man was arrested in a sting operation by Georgian agents in 2006, but the case was not publicized by Georgia until this week.


Russia And Georgia

Russia And Georgia
Beefed up security outside Russian military headquarters in Tbilisi on September 27 (InterPressNews)

NOT ALL WINE AND ROSES. Moscow's relations with Tbilisi since the collapse of the Soviet Union have often been tense and strained. Among the issues that have made the relationship difficult are Moscow's alleged support for the breakaway Georgia regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as well as the continued presence of Russia troops on Georgian territory. Periodically, Georgian lawmakers propose withdrawing from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) altogether. RFE/RL has written extensively about the rocky relationship between these two countries.


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RFE/RL's complete coverage of Georgia and Russia.

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