Rice says America not trying to slow Russias WTO entry

Berlin, Marcch 30 | Updated: Mar 31 2006, 05:30am hrs
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Thursday rejected Russian President Vladimir Putins assertion that Washington was hampering Russian efforts to negotiate entry to the World Trade Organisation. We would like to see Russia a member of the WTO but the agreement has to conform to WTO rules and it has to be something that will pass congressional scrutiny and conforms to international rules, Rice told reporters en route to Berlin.

The United States has concerns over poultry and financial services, she said. I dont think this is an issue of impeding. I think this is an issue of negotiation and trying to get to an outcome that I think both presidents (US and Russia) would like to have, which is Russia having accession to the WTO.

Rice was speaking to reporters on her way to Berlin, where the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany met later to discuss Irans nuclear programme.

Putin said on Wednesday that the United States was making new demands of the Russians which were a setback in the lengthy process of negotiating entry to the world trade body. We have received a list of questions from our American colleagues requiring additional agreement which we considered settled long ago, Putin told a Kremlin meeting with Russian business leaders.