27 Feb 2024 17:27

U.S., EU delegations refusing direct contact with Russia at WTO conference - Russian Econ Ministry

ABU DHABI. Feb 27 (Interfax) - Delegations from the U.S., EU and a number of other countries are refusing to have direct contact with Russian representatives at the WTO ministerial conference, which started on February 26 in Abu Dhabi, Deputy Russian Economic Development Minister Vladimir Ilyichev said.

"The delegations from the U.S., EU and several other countries still refuse direct dialogue with our representatives, in keeping with instructions of their political establishnents. Well, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink, as they say. It's their problem, not ours," Ilyichev said in an interview with Interfax on the sidelines of the conference.

But he said "attempts to isolate Russia at multilateral platforms, including the WTO, have failed."

"This was clear from the outset. It just doesn't make sense to discuss key global problems and make decisions in an organization that calls itself a 'world' one and at the same time ignore what the biggest country has to say. Representatives of friendly countries spoke about this back in March last year. Our delegation is involved in all WTO working bodies and negotiating teams, including in the framework of preparations for the 13th Ministerial Conference. We are trying to make our own constructive contribution to reforming the organization, adapting to modern realities and improving its efficiency," Ilyichev said.

Ilyichev said WTO platform was "relevant for us, given, among other things, how actively we are building ties with new trading partners as we pivot to promising markets in developing countries."

"The WTO brings considerably more advantages than disadvantages. Everyone knows it's easy to leave, but getting back in is practically impossible. By staying in the WTO, Russia can get its point of view across to other members and secure the decisions that we need. Decisions are based on consensus at the WTO, and guarantees they are acceptable for all," Ilyichev said.