L'AQUILA, July 10 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday the most realistic option for Russia to join the World Trade Organization was to do so separately, but to agree on common positions with Belarus and Kazakhstan.
Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan agreed in early June to form a customs bloc and seek joint accession to the WTO.
"We can, having agreed on certain common standards and positions inside the Customs Union troika, join separately. In my view this is simpler and more realistic, on the condition that the rights and interests of other participants are observed," Medvedev told journalists after the G8 summit.
Russia has been involved in talks to join the WTO for 16 years, Kazakhstan for 13 years. Belarus recently has shown no desire to join the global trade body.
Commenting on Russia's WTO prospects, the organization's head Pascal Lamy said in late June WTO members were still "unclear as to what the next steps would be."
Russia is the world's only major economy still outside the WTO. Consent from all 153 WTO members is necessary for a state to join the organization.