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Georgia Agrees to Swiss Proposal in WTO Talks With Russia


Georgia has accepted a Swiss proposal aimed at resolving a trade dispute with Russia that could clear the way for Moscow to join the World Trade Organization.

The Georgian government said Thursday that the proposal provides guarantees of international supervision of all trade and cargo between Russia and the breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. After talks in Geneva, Georgia said it will not block Russia's entry into the WTO if Moscow approves the Swiss proposal.

But Russia says it will need several days to study the proposal.

Russia has been negotiating to join the WTO for 18 years. Georgia is the only state standing in the way of Russia's WTO membership. Under WTO rules, any one of the 153 members can block a new country by vetoing it.

Negotiations between Russia and Georgia had broken down because of Tbilisi's insistence that Russia provide access to trade information in the two breakaway regions.

Russia has recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states, and has refused to give Georgia the information.

Georgia fought a brief but bitter war with Russia over the breakaway regions in 2008. Only Russia and a handful of other countries recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent nations.

Russia, which is the largest economy still outside the WTO, has the support of the United States and the European Union in reaching its goal of joining the world trade body by the end of the year.

Some information for this report proviced by AFP and Reuters.

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