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Will Georgia stop vetoing Russia's WTO applications?

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, December 17
One of the Directors of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Cheidu Osakwe, stated some time ago that Georgia’s veto of Russia's membership of this organisation should not be a serious obstacle to positively resolving this issue. In fact Georgia is the only country which opposes Russia becoming a member of WTO and vetoes its applications.

Before the August Russian invasion Georgia was demanding that Russia recognise that the customs checkpoints at the Roki Tunnel and at Psou legally belonged to the sovereign state of Georgia as well as Russia. Both these places were then under the control of separatists, who had claimed the checkpoints as their own. After the 2008 Russian invasion relations between the two countries became more difficult and further deteriorated when Moscow recognised as independent the two separatist regions of Georgia.

There are two opinions among Georgian analysts, some suggesting that since all the other WTO countries support Russia’s entry Georgia could be deprived of its veto right while others state that Georgia's friends will eventually convince Tbilisi to stop vetoing Russia’s membership. Demur Giorkhelidze thinks that in return for waiving its veto Tbilisi should receive guarantees of support for resolving the problems Georgia is facing.

Gia Khukhashvili is even more radical, and is sure that Tbilisi will agree to forego its veto as the Georgian leadership is only rhetorically hostile to Russia while in reality surrendering Georgia to the enemy. However this is only a supposition, as officially Georgia’s position has not changed. Deputy Minister of Economy Zurab Alavidze states that Georgia still has a veto right and so far nobody had prevented it from exercising it.