On September 4th-5th, St. Petersburg hosted the Sixth Joint Meeting of the Russian-Arab Business Council, that brought together the heads of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Russia and the Arab countries, the representatives of ministries and departments, heads of major companies, and businessmen interested in expanding business cooperation.
V.P. Yevtushenkov the Chairman of the RABC, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of JSFC «Sistema» - headed the Russian delegation.
The following Russian officials took part in the RABC Sixth Session: I.I. Shuvalov, the Assistant to the President of the Russian Federation, A.A. Aslakhanov, the Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation, I.I. Klebanov, the Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian Federation in the North-West Federal District, A.V. Konovalov, the Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian Federation in the Volga Federal District, D.N. Kozak, the Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian Federation in the Southern Federal District, V.I. Matvienko, the Governor of St. Petersburg, V.I. Katenev, the President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of St. Petersburg, K.N. Ilyumzhinov, the President of the Republic Kalmykia, A.D. Alkhanov, the President of the Chechen Republic, D.A. Pumpyansky, the Chairman of OJSC «TMK», M.S. Gutseriev, the President of «Rusneft», A.I. Agalarov, the President of «Crocus International», and other officials and the business elite of Russia.
Adnan Cassar, the President of the General Union of the Chambers of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture of the Arab countries - headed the Arab delegation.
The Arab delegation at the Sixth Session of RABC included: Adnan Cassar, the President of the General Union of the Chambers of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture of the Arab countries, Abdurrahman Ar-Rashed, the Chairman of the Board of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Saudi Arabia, the Chairman of the RABC Arab Department in 2006-2007, Ilyas Gantus, the Secretary-General of the General Union, the Presidents and representatives of the Chambers of commerce and industry of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanese Republic, Republic of Yemen, Palestinian Authority, Republic of Tunisia, Algerian Democratic Republic, Sultanate of Oman, Arab Republic of Egypt, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, State of Kuwait, Syrian Arab Republic, Kingdom of Bahrain, and accompanying them delegations, as well as prominent representatives of the Arab business.
The meeting was attended by the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassadors of the Arab countries in the Russian Federation, including Abdulhamid Ali Hassan Ali (Kingdom of Bahrain), Dr. Assem Jaber (Lebanese Republic), Izzat Saad (Arab Republic of Egypt), Mohammed Mahmoud Ould Dahi (Islamic Republic of Mauritania ), Saad Mohamed Al-Kubeysi (State of Qatar), Salem Sayil Al-Afari (Sultanate of Oman), Suleiman Ibrahim Al-Morjan (State of Kuwait), Mohammed Bellazhi (Republic of Tunisia), and accompanying persons.
The event was attended by the delegations from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Yemen, Palestine, Tunisia, Algeria, Oman, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Syria, Bahrain.
Vladimir Putin, the President of the Russian Federation, stressed in a welcoming message to the forum participants that «Our cooperation, based on the principles of pragmatism and mutual benefit, has become effective, widespread, and truly partnership in the recent years. I see in all that the merit of the Russian-Arab Business Council, its activity not only helps strengthening direct contacts between the business circles, but also, in general, really assists in bringing Russia's relations with the countries of the region to a high-quality level».
M.Ye. Fradkov, the Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation, appealed the meeting participants. He expressed the hope that «At this meeting in St. Petersburg the concrete steps will be outlined to build up the economic and investment partnership for the interests benefit of our peoples and the prosperity of our countries», and on behalf of the Government of the Russian Federation, he wished the meeting participants: fruitful work, success, and projected plans implementation».
The greeting of Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, read out by A.Yakovenko, the Deputy Minister, said «Due to the initiative work of the Council, the Russian-Arab interaction in the various fields has noticeably increased recently, and the number of companies from Russia working for Middle Eastern markets increased greatly. It is especially important that we were able to reach the implementation of large multilateral projects, including the creation of the «Arab home» in Moscow».
V.I. Matviyenko, the Governor of St. Petersburg, addressed the meeting participants with greeting, she expressed confidence that «the Sixth meeting of the Russian-Arab Business Council will allow to expand significantly the dialogue with the Middle East countries, and the government and business representatives meeting will become a new impulse in the development of relations between Russia and the Arab world».
The co-chairs of the bilateral business councils took an active part in the discussion of cooperation topical issues.
D.Pumpyansky, the Co-chairman of the Russian-Syrian Business Council, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of OJSC «TMK», told about the two-year work experience of the Russian-Syrian Business Council. He named the most successful Russian companies operating in the Syrian market, told about the implementation of specific cooperation projects and future plans. M.S.Gutseriev, the Co-chairman of the Russian-Algerian Business Council, the President of the oil and gas company «RussNeft», informed the present of the current stage and activity prospects of the Council, that in a short time had been able to activate bilateral cooperation and proceed to the specific agreements implementation. A.I. Agalarov, The President of CJSC «Crocus International», the Co-chairman of the Russian-Tunisian Business Council, speaking in front of the the meeting participants, invited the Arab partners to take part in the all-Arab exhibition «Expo-Russia 2007», that would be held in the largest exhibition complex in our country «Crocus International».
During the session an agreement was signed on the establishment of the Russian-Bahraini Business Council.
V.P. Evtushenkov, the Chairman of the RABC Russian Department, and Jehad Hassan Ibrahim Bukamal, the Treasurer of Bahrain Chamber of Commerce, signed the agreement.
Within the framework of the forum, the round-table meetings were held, at which the most promising areas of interaction at the present stage between the Russian and the Arab businessmen were discussed.
The Russian and the Arab companies made presentations of their investment projects:
- Arabic Home in Moscow;
- Russian-Arab Investment Fund;
- The first Arab exhibition in Moscow «Arabia-EXPO»;
- The Industrial cities of Jubail and Yanbu. World petrochemical centers.
On the second day of the session, the meetings of bilateral business councils were held, at which the specific cooperation projects were discussed as well as the ways to implement the projected plans, the meeting of the Arab businessmen with the potential partners from St. Petersburg was held.
- Valentina Matvienko, the Governor of St. Petersburg, conducted the gala dinner at the Shuvalov Palace in honor of the forum guests.
- A ceremonial reception was held in the evening in a ceremonial hall of the famous Petrodvorets, the reception was dedicated to the Sixth session of the Russian-Arab Business Council.