Showing posts with label vanuatu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vanuatu. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

WTO Admits New Members

Organization: World Trade Organization
Countries in Question: Vanuatu, Russia, Montenegro, Samoa
News Categories: Intergovernmental Organizations
Summary: The World Trade Organization, the intergovernmental organization supervising international trade between the majority of the world's countries, admitted one new member last October, and three more last week. Especially notable was the admission last Friday of Russia, which was by far the largest economy not to have joined previously.

Full Story
While some intergovernmental organizations, such as the U.N. or regional unions, were created for general purposes of cooperation between states, others serve more specific purposes. The World Trade Organization (WTO) is one of these, acting as a venue for countries to agree on rules for international trade. Among its members, economic agreements are subject to rules aimed at liberalizing international trade, and trade-related disputes are also arbitrated through the organization. Formed in 1995 as a replacement for weaker trade treaties of the past, by 2008 the WTO represented approximately 80% of the world's independent countries.

World Trade Organization members in green. Countries joining this year in brighter green, with small countries circled. Modified from this Wikimedia map (license: CC BY-SA).

This October, the WTO grew for the first time in three years, with the acceptance of the Pacific island country of Vanuatu's as a member. Just last week, three more countries joined: Russia, Montenegro, and Samoa. Samoa is another small Pacific island country, and Montenegro was only formed a few years ago from the final breakup of former Yugoslavia. Russia, however, has gained much attention for being the last of the world's major economic powers to join the organization. Although it first applied for admission to the group 18 years ago, before the modern WTO was even formed, until recently Russia was slow to proceed with membership negotiations. For the last few years, it was blocked from entry by Georgia, a WTO member protesting its invasion by Russia during the 2008 war between the two countries, but that hurdle was finally crossed after a Swiss-brokered agreement between Russia and Georgia earlier this year. Although the four new countries have been accepted by the organization, their governments will still have to ratify the agreements in order for them to become full participating members.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Abkhazia Recognized by Vanuatu

Country Name: Abkhazia (English), Apsny (Abkhaz), Abkhaziya (Russian)
Official Name: Republic of Abkhazia
News Category: Partially Recognized States, Diplomatic Recognition
Summary: The disputed breakaway state of Abkhazia has gained diplomatic recognition from Vanuatu, the fifth U.N. member to acknowledge its independence from Georgia.

Abkhazia (purple stripes) and South Ossetia (gold stripes), and their
claimed location within Georgia. Wikimedia map by Ssolbergj (CC BY-SA).
Full Story
The Republic of Abkhazia is one of seven states in the world which are recognized by some U.N. members, but not by the U.N. as a whole. Located in the Caucasus region on the border between Europe and Asia, Abkhazia is considered part of Georgia by most U.N. members; however, it has enjoyed de facto independence since winning a war of secession against the larger country in 1993. It has shared much of its fate with South Ossetia, another breakaway state which also seceded from Georgia around the same time. Abkhazia and South Ossetia passed their first decade and a half of independence without the recognition of any U.N. members. That changed after a 2008 war in which Georgia attempted to take back the two breakaway states by force, and was repelled by Russian forces. In the aftermath of the war, both Abkhazia and South Ossetia received diplomatic recognition from Russia, as well as from the Central American Republic of Nicaragua. The next year, South America's Venezuela and the Pacific island country of Nauru followed suit. The two breakaway republics are also recognized by each other and at least two other non-U.N. member states.
U.N. members recognizing Abkhazia shown in green. Vanuatu circled in green, Abkhazia circled in pink.
Modified from this map by Wikimedia user NuclearVacuum (license: CC BY-SA).
This summer, Abkhazia received recognition from a fifth U.N. member, the Republic of Vanuatu. For the first time, South Ossetia was not recognized along with Abkhazia. Vanuatu is a Pacific island country of a quarter-million people, formerly known as the New Hebrides, which won independence from Britain and France in 1980. Vanuatu's recognition of Abkhazia this year was accompanied by a great deal of confusion. Negotiated in secret between the two states, the recognition agreement was first announced to the public at the end of May. However, government officials in Vanuatu gave differing reports on whether or not the agreement existed, with confirmation finally coming on June 7. Making things even more complicated, Vanuatu's temporary prime minister withdrew recognition of Abkhazia on June 19, but it was reinstated on July 12 after the return of the permanent head of government.

Wikipedia: Abkhazia, Vanuatu, International Recognition of Abkhazia & South Ossetia