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Russia Still Keen On WTO Membership, Not Issuing Ultimatums - First Deputy PM

'World Trade Organization' with Colored Swoosh MarksMoscow, 19 April: Russia is not issuing ultimatums to the WTO (World Trade Organization) and will conduct negotiations to join this organization until they are crowned with success, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov has said.

"We are working to the end, and we believe that all the issues have essentially been resolved, what remains is the issues that are more political, which now depend on our partners' desire to see us in the WTO," Shuvalov told Interfax on Tuesday (19 April).

He said the partners were, from time to time, asking for clarifications on Russia's position on certain issues. "New questions are asked by our partners, the EU and the USA, and we are working them on a daily basis," Shuvalov added.

At the beginning of April, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin instructed the government not to honour any commitments taken as part of negotiations on joining the WTO, until Russia became a member.

Russia does not have to meet the requirements envisaged by WTO membership until it has joined the organization, the Prime Minister said at a meeting in St Petersburg. "This is a direct order: we will not comply with anything until we become a fully fledged member," the head of the government said.

"We have to perform our duties, incur certain expenses, and derive no advantages from our membership, which does not exist. As soon as we start complying with commitments within the framework of the WTO without being a WTO member, they, our partners, lose any desire to admit us. Why the hell should they admit us if we comply with everything anyway?" Putin said.

Rumours started after the prime minister's pronouncement that the Russian authorities had set an unofficial deadline for the completion of negotiations, and that if the process was not completed before the end of the year, they would abandon the accession to the WTO, switching to the practice of concluding bilateral treaties with Russia's trade partners instead.

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