WTO trade ministers on Friday accepted Russia’s bid to join the World Trade Organization, the Kremlin press service said. Nigerian Trade Minister Olusegun Olutoyin Aganga announced that the WTO trade ministers meeting had agreed to accept the bid. The accession protocol was signed for Russia by Economic Development Minister Elvira Nabiullina and for the WTO, by its Director General Pascal Lamy.
Russia has been working to join the WTO since 1993. The last remaining obstacle for its entry has been Georgia, which has refused to approve Russia's entry ever since the two countries fought a brief war in August 2008 when Georgia attacked South Ossetia to bring it back under Tbilisi's central control. After the war, Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and another ex-Georgian republic, Abkhazia.
Russia's chief WTO negotiator, Maxim Medvedkov, said in early November that Moscow and Tbilisi had reached a compromise deal with the help of Swiss mediators on monitoring goods crossing the borders of the former Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.