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Georgia will gain nothing by issuing ultimatums on Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization
Georgia will gain nothing by issuing ultimatums on Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization, the Russian economics minister said Friday. Georgian National Bank President Roman Gotsiridze said Wednesday his country will block Russia's bid to join the WTO until Moscow lifts its economic sanctions against Tbilisi. Tensions between Russia and Georgia have escalated in recent days over alleged spying by Russian military officers stationed in the South Caucasus nation. Russia shut down transport and mail links with Georgia Monday, and several senior Russian politicians have demanded economic sanctions and other measures against the country. Commenting on Georgia's possible veto on Russia's WTO entry, Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref said: "First, this is an issue of our bilateral relations and talks and, second, no country has a right of veto in multilateral WTO talks." "I believe any attempts to conduct a dialogue based on ultimatums and force is not a good way to resolve problems, above all, economic ones," Gref said. He also said he could not predict when Russia would accede to the WTO. Russia has completed bilateral talks with 55 of the 58 members of the world's largest trade body. Negotiations are continuing with the U.S., Moldova and Georgia. "We have not completed talks with our main partner, the United States," Gref said. The two countries still have a number of unsettled questions, such as agricultural subsidies and access to the Russian market. In particular, deliveries of beef and pork from the U.S. to Russia were discussed at the G-8 Summit in St. Petersburg in July.
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