A contract signed on December 19 by Georgia and a Swiss company regarding the monitoring of cargo traffic between Georgia and Russia is only an agreement on the implementation of the Georgia-Russia 2011 deal, says Georgia’s Foreign Minister.
Vice Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze said today that Tuesday’s deal will only ensure the implementation of the 2011 contract and it will not include any additional responsibilities for either parties.
On Tuesday in Bern, the Georgian Revenue Service and the Swiss company SGS (Societe Generale de Surveillance SA) signed a contract, which will ensure that monitoring is carried out as provided for by the agreement on "the basic principles for a mechanism of customs administration and monitoring of trade in goods”, signed between the Georgian and Russian governments in 2011.
The 2011 deal provided for setting up three trade corridors between Georgia and Russia and the monitoring of cargo traffic by the third party - Switzerland.
Two of these two corridors will go through the territory of Georgia’s Russian occupied regions – Abkhazia and South Ossetia and these segments of the routes will also be subject to Swiss monitoring.
Russia and Georgia signed the agreement "on the basic principles for a mechanism of customs administration and monitoring of trade in goods” on November 9, 2011. It was a precondition for Georgia’s consent to Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). In exchange for that, official Tbilisi demanded control over the cargo traffic on the Abkhaz and South Ossetian sections of the border.
Today, Foreign Minister Janelidze explained that the exact geographical coordinates of the corridors and all other details of cargo movement were agreed back in 2011, and that the recent contract between Georgia and the Swiss company will only make sure that agreement is implemented.
For the practical implementation of the 2011 agreement, it is necessary that the Russian side also signs a similar contract with the Swiss company, so that the sides can start fulfilling the obligations undertaken in the contract.
Russia and Georgia cut off their diplomatic ties following the 2008 war. Since then, Switzerland acts as a mediator for negotiations between the two countries.