Russia could in theory be admitted to the World Trade Organization (WTO) without Georgia's consent but that would be unprecedented, Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Nino Kalandadze said on Monday.
Her comments came in response to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's remarks on Sunday that Russia could become a WTO member without Georgia's approval.
"Such a possibility does exist. This is stipulated under the WTO statute whereby any state may become a member of the Organization in circumvention of one [member] country. But there has not been such a precedent so far," she said.
Georgia's position on Russia's WTO membership was constructive and non-political, Kalandadze said.
"We are talking about purely technical and legal matters," she said.
Georgian-Russian WTO talks resumed on Thursday in Switzerland after being suspended for almost three years following Russia's decision to lift economic sanctions against Georgia's breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in April 2008.
Russia has been in membership talks with the 153-nation WTO for 17 years and remains the only major economy still outside the organization. The European Union gave its formal backing to the country's entry bid in December last year after Russia agreed to trim timber export duties and rail freight tariffs.
However, Georgia says it will not allow Russia to join the global free trade club unless it cedes control of customs in the breakaway Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
Georgia severed diplomatic relations with Russia in August 2008 when Moscow recognized the independence of the two former Georgian republics following a five-day war, which started when Georgia attacked South Ossetia in an attempt to bring it back under central control.
TBILISI, March 14 (RIA Novosti)