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EC Continues To Support Russian WTO Membership

August 2011 - Tax & Private Client. Legal Developments by Hassans.

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The European Council is ready to meet Russia halfway on the issues still hindering its World Trade Organisation (WTO) membership bid, the Kremlin has said.

According to the Kremlin, president Dmitry Medvedev spoke with European Council president Herman Van Rompuy last week, discussing in detail the situation surrounding negotiations on Russia's accession. Allegedly, Van Rompuy voiced his support for Russia joining the WTO by the end of the year, stressing that this is a top priority. In addition, the Kremlin said that Van Rompuy indicated readiness to meet Russia halfway in resolving the remaining issues still to be settled.

This latest dialogue follows swift on the heels of Medvedev's recent conversation with US president Barrack Obama, who also spoke of his desire to see Russia in the WTO before the end of 2011. The main sticking point remaining is, as is to be expected, the ongoing dispute between Russia and Georgia over breakaway regions bordering the two countries.

Medvedev went on Russian national radio last week to announce his refusal to "barter" with Georgia for Russia's place in the WTO. He also made it clear that he would not tolerate the use of political obstacles in Georgia's negotiations, but did say that were the dispute settled amicably, it could herald a starting point for the re-establishment of more cordial relations.

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