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Russia, Georgia Sign Deal Unblocking Russia's WTO Entry

Russia and Georgia have signed a bilateral deal unblocking Russia's bid to join the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Negotiators from the two sides signed the Swiss-brokered deal at WTO headquarters in Geneva.

Russia has been seeking admission to the global trade body for nearly two decades, and Georgia was the only WTO member still blocking Russia's entry.

The deal will see an independent company carry out customs checks on trade between Russia and Georgia's two breakaway regions, South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Georgia and Russia fought a brief war over South Ossetia in 2008, and Russia has recognized the two breakaway regions as independent states since.

Trade officials say Russia's entry into the global trade organization is now expected to be approved by WTO trade ministers when they meet on December 15 in Geneva.

compiled from agency reports