For the first time the Exhibition «ARABIA-EXPO» was held under the agreement reached by two parts of the «Russian-Arab Business Council». The Russian side held the event in such a way as to provide Arab companies interested in working in the Russian markets with maximum opportunities to promote their trade and industrial activities and to get acquainted with Russian companies operating in various spheres. The participation of several hundred Arab companies in the Exhibition «ARABIA-EXPO 2008» confirmed the effectiveness of the event to enhance cooperation between the private sectors of Russia and the Arab world.
On October 22, 2008, the first Arab Exhibition in Moscow «ARABIA-EXPO» was opened on the modern areas of the international exhibition center «Crocus-Expo». Its business part was a major business forum — the anniversary session of the «Russian-Arab Business Council» dedicated to the 5th anniversary of the organization. The solemn meeting was attended by Deputy Prime Minister — Dmitriy Kozak, Head of the Ministry of Foreign affairs — Sergey Lavrov and President of the Russian Federation Chamber of Commerce and Industry — Yevgeniy Primakov.
The opening of the Exhibition was bright and colorful — in a solemn atmosphere with a large gathering of guests and participants to the sounds of drumming the ribbon was cut in front of the entrance to the exhibition hall. The visitors were met by the Moroccan national ensemble, to the oriental rhythms of which they began to inspect the exposition.
The exhibition featured national expositions of most countries of the Arab world, including Jordan, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Egypt and Tunisia. Thematic sections of the Exhibition covered many areas of mutual interest — light and food industries, energy, tourism, construction, real estate, hospitality and much more. Also, numerous companies represented in national expositions demonstrated traditional products and services: Lebanese mosaic, Tunisian dates and olive oil, knitwear and souvenirs, cosmetics from the Dead Sea.
Exhibition events were held with a great support of the Russian government, mainly the Ministry of foreign Affairs, the Ministry of trade and economic development, the chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation, the Federal Agency for water resources, and the governments of several regions of the Federal districts of Russia.
The atmosphere of hospitality and the national coloring of the Arab East welcomed every visitor of the Exhibition. Especially worth noting the sponsors of the Exhibition, among which were the free economic zone of «Ras-al-Khaimah». Representatives of this FEZ took an active participation and showed interest in holding the first Arab Exhibition in the Russian capital.
Representative delegations from 18 Arab states arrived in Moscow to participate in the event. The fact that the delegations of many Arab countries that visited Moscow were headed by ministers and heads of chambers of commerce and industry spoke of the great significance of the event.
Yevgeniy Primakov emphasized that the exhibition «ARABIA-EXPO» is the largest event in Russian — Arab relations in recent decades and the first in Russia — the result of a long and hard work of the Russian and Arab sides.
The Head of the Russian Foreign Ministry Sergey Lavrov announced the greeting of the Russian President Dmitriy Medvedev to the participants of the anniversary session of the «Russian-Arab Business Council» (RABC) and the exhibition «ARABIA-EXPO». In particular, it stated: «In a relatively short period of time, RABC and the bilateral business councils operating under its aegis have made a significant contribution to the activation of the Russian-Arab relations in the trade, economic, investment, scientific, technical and humanitarian spheres. The bright result of this work is the organization of the I International Exhibition „ARABIA-EXPO 2008“ in Moscow, which is intended to become a new platform for communication between Russian and Arab entrepreneurs, the conclusion of mutually beneficial contracts. Precisely in the expanding ties between the business communities we see the main reserve for deepening cooperation between Russia and the Arab countries, filling it with new content».
The Minister in his speech presented the views of the Russian side on the development of the situation in the world, noted that Russia builds its relations with the Arab States on the principles of equality, respect and mutual understanding. «Cooperation with Arab countries is an important factor in building a multipolar world», — said Sergey Lavrov.
«The ARABIA-EXPO exhibitionis evidence of our interest in each other», said Vladimir Evtushenkov — Chairman of the Russian part of RABC, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Joint Stock Financial Corporation «Sistema». — «for many entrepreneurs, the Exhibition can become a launching point, the beginning of long-term cooperation. Once contacts were established at the level of capitals, today business goes to the regions. By the way, a number of Russian regions, such as Samara and Tyumen regions, are represented at the Exhibition. One of the reasons for the creation of RABC is an urgent need for adequate information, and RABC was able to provide this information to the entrepreneurs. Fifteen bilateral business councils established by the Russian side together with Arab partners are working under the aegis of the RABC».
Those who present also listened to the speeches of the Minister of Foreign Trade of Morocco — Abdel Latif Mazuza, Minister of Industry of Lebanon — Ghazi Zhueitar, Deputy Minister of Trade of Iraq — Sueiba Mahmoud Zangala. In a solemn ceremony, was signed an agreement on the establishment of The «Russian-Palestinian Business Council», which became the sixteenth bilateral Council formed within the framework of the RABC. On the Russian side the document was signed by Chairman of the Russian part of RABC, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the JSFC «Sistema» — Vladimir Yevtushenkov, on the Palestinian — President of the company «Padico» — Munib Al-Masri.
The organizers and participants of the exhibition agreed that the I International Exhibition «ARABIA-EXPO 2008» in Moscow was successful and aroused interest from both Arab and Russian participants. Taking into account the mutual interest and desire to develop cooperation in holding exhibitions both in Russia and in many countries of the Arab world, it was decided to increase efforts and expand cooperation to hold the II Interanational Exhibition «ARABIA-EXPO» in Moscow and to organize Russian Exhibitions in Arab countries.