Russia and Georgia agreed to “cut through” the corridor to Armenia

10 JULY 2017

Representatives of Moscow and Tbilisi agreed to proceed with the implementation of the 2011 Agreement on Trade Corridors between Russia and Georgia through the former Georgian autonomies – Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

This became known after the talks in Prague between the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Grigory Karasin and the Special Representative of the Prime Minister of Georgia, Ambassador Zurab Abashidze.

Kommersant reports that Zurab Abashidze and Grigory Karasin agreed to conclude consultations on the implementation of the 2011 agreement and proceed to formalize contracts with the Swiss firm SGS, which will monitor the movement of goods and cargo from Russia to Georgia and back through the “trade corridors” across the territory of Abkhazia And South Ossetia.

To this end, a tripartite Russian-Georgian-Swiss working group will be formed in the near future to implement the agreement. This was after the end of many hours of talks in the capital of the Czech Republic, Ambassador Abashidze said. “We agreed that consultations on this matter will no longer be: it’s time to move on to the formulation of specific agreements,” Mr. Abashidze stressed.

“In principle, the understanding of how to act is achieved,” TASS was confirmed by the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation. The participants of the meeting also discussed in general the development of bilateral relations, including issues of transport cooperation, humanitarian and trade contacts. “Trade for the first five months of this year showed an increase of 40% compared with the same period last year.

Georgian exports to the Russian Federation increased 3.3-fold, “Mr. Karasin explained.” We are Georgia’s second trading partner and the first partner in terms of imports of Georgian products. We do not want to stop there: in October we plan a second business forum with the participation of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation. ”

Recall, a preliminary agreement to intensify the work on the agreement signed in 2011 was reached at a previous meeting in Prague in February. This is the “Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of Georgia on the basic principles of the mechanism of customs administration and monitoring of trade in goods” of November 9, 2011. The contract was formalized as a result of complex negotiations on Russia’s accession to the WTO:

After the meeting with US President Barack Obama, the then acting President of Georgia, Mikhail Saakashvili, vetoed Russia’s accession to the organization – but only on the condition that “trade corridors” from Russia to Georgia pass through Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and the sides will invite international Intermediaries who will control the flow of goods and mark them.

This is what SGS will do. According to the Georgian prime minister’s special representative, he has to discuss with Karasin the terms of contracting (each country separately) with SGS, representatives of which will stand on both sides of the “trade corridors” to monitor the movement of goods.

Until now, the transition to the practical implementation of the agreement was hampered by the fact that Moscow and Tbilisi could not agree whether representatives of Abkhazia and South Ossetia could directly participate in the process.

In Sukhum and Tskhinval, in turn, they repeatedly threatened to refuse to pass cargo through the “corridors”, if they are not full-fledged parties to the agreement – but this option was categorically not satisfied with Tbilisi. Asked by Kommersant whether Russia refused to join the talks and the “technical agreement” of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Zurab Abashidze responded diplomatically: “My colleague and I confirmed that the 2011 agreement was concluded between the two countries – Russia and Georgia, and the third Only Switzerland can become a party. ”

It is reported that Moscow has so far refrained from signing a contract with SGS, not only because of the position of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but also for the second, no less important reason: the document issued in 2011 provides for the “physical presence” of employees of a third country company on the borders The Russian Federation with Abkhazia (check point Psou) and South Ossetia (checkpoint Nizhny Zaramag), where foreigners can monitor the movement of any, including military, cargo. In turn, Mr. Karasin explained to TASS that Moscow is still waiting for Tbilisi “long-requested explanations by the Russian side on the issue of customs clearance of goods on Georgian territory.”

On the eve of the talks in Prague, the KGB officers in South Ossetia installed a banner with the inscription “The State Border of the Republic of South Ossetia” 450 meters from the strategically important South-Caucasus highway Tbilisi-Kutaisi-Poti, thus provoking a surge of anti-Russian statements by Georgian officials, but this The action did not lead to a disruption of the meeting between the diplomats of the two countries.

“Again, there were some emotional outbursts about the border with South Ossetia. But we are already accustomed to this, so the mood is constructive, “Tass commented on the incident Grigory Karasin.


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