The anniversary session of the Russian Arab Business Council and the I Arab Exhibition in Moscow «ARABIA-EXPO» took place in the International Exhibition Center «Crocus Expo» from 22nd to 24th October 2008, the events were timed to the 5th anniversary of the RABC.
The enlarged delegations came from 18 Arab countries to participate in this festive session. Only the delegation of Morocco numbered over 80 people.
More than 1,000 entrepreneurs from Russia and major economies of the Arab world took part in the business program and the exhibition. Within the session meetings of three sections were conducted on cooperation areas, as well as business council meetings with Algeria, Tunisia, Syria, Kuwait, Jordan, Morocco, Yemen, UAE, Oman, Bahrain, KSA. The Agreement on the establishment of the Russian-Palestinian Business Council was signed. Moreover D.N. Kozak invited Arab construction companies to take part in the building of the Olympic facilities in Sochi, and many took advantage of this offer.
The following Russian officials made a speech in front of the Forum guests during the RABC ceremonial session: S.V. Lavrov, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, D.N. Kozak, the Deputy Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation, Ye.M. Primakov, the President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, V.P. Yevtushenkov, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of JSFC «Sistema», the Chairman of the Russian-Arab Business Council, T.A. Gvilava, the Director of the Russian-Arab Business Council, A.A. Aslakhanov, the Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation, A.I. Agalarov, the President of «Crocus Group», V.Ya. Lorenz, the President of OJSC «Stroytransgaz», D.A. Pumpyansky, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of OJSC «TMK», delegations of the Tyumen and Samara regions, as well as the representatives of companies operating in various sectors of the economy.
The heads of key companies and organizations from various countries of the Arab region arrived in Moscow to attend the event.
The session participants included Adnan Cassar, the President of the General Union of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the the Arab countries, Gazi Zueitar, the Minister of Industry of the Lebanese Republic, Abdellatif Maazuz, the Minister of Foreign Trade of Morocco, Suveyba Mahmoud Zangana, the Deputy Minister of Trade of Iraq.
Ye.M. Primakov, the President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, opened the joint session. He noted that the Russian-Arab Business Council had stood the test of time: according to the results of 2007 Russia's mutual trade with the Arab world had increased several times compared with the year 2000 and had exceeded $ 7 billion. That, according to E.M. Primakov, was a very significant indicator, - «although it does not fully correspond to the potential. Except the traditional trade, the first shoots of investment cooperation have appeared in the recent years. This is natural, since the Russian and the Arab economies are mutually complementary in a number of areas, the common interests have emerged in the industrial, scientific, and technical spheres».
S.V. Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, read out the greeting from D.A. Medvedev, the President of the Russian Federation, to the the joint session participants of the RABC and the «Arabia-EXPO» exhibition. The Minister presented in his speech the views of the Russian party on the situation development in the world, he noted that our country was building its relations with the Arab states on the principles of equality, respect and mutual understanding. Sergey Lavrov noted that the cooperation with the Arab countries was an important factor in the construction of a multipolar world.
D.N. Kozak, the Deputy Prime Minister, welcomed the participants on behalf of Vladimir Putin, the Head of the Russian government, and expressed confidence that the economic cooperation between Russia and the Arab world would develop dynamically. According to D.N. Kozak, the gained tempo made it possible to count firmly on this, besides, the experience of the Arab constructors could be useful when implementing one of the largest Russian projects - preparations for the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Adnan Cassar, the President of the Council of the General Union of Arab Chambers, responded by saying that the Arab world considered Russia the most important crossroad of the modern world, a point of attraction, its natural ally. He expressed confidence that the exhibition would become a successful and very important stage in the cooperation development, that an increasing number of companies and firms, from large to small, would develop jointly and implement new projects in such areas as construction, new technologies, finance, fisheries, agriculture, and others.
V.P. Yevtushenkov, the Chairman of the RABC Russian Department, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of JSFC «Sistema» declared that the holding of «Arabia-EXPO» exhibition was the evidence of our interest in each other. According to him, the exhibition could become a launching pad for many entrepreneurs, the beginning of long-term cooperation. Formerly, the contacts had been established at the level of capitals, that day the business went to the regions, the evidence of that was the participation of Samara and Tyumen regions in the Exhibition. V.P. Yevtushenkov noted that one of the reasons of RABC creation was the urgent need for adequate information, and the Business Council was able to provide this information to entrepreneurs. Under the RABC auspices, there were fifteen bilateral business councils created by the Russian side together with the partners from the Arab countries.
An agreement was signed in a solemn atmosphere on the establishment of the Russian-Palestinian Business Council, which had become the sixteenth bilateral council formed within the RABC framework. From the Russian side, the document was signed by V.P. Yevtushenkov, the Chairman of the Russian Department of the RABC, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of JSFC «Sistema», Munib Al-Masri, the President of the company «Padiko» signed the document from the Palestinian side.