The 9th Joint Session of the Russian-Arab Business Council took place in the “Crocus Expo” international exhibition center, Moscow, Russia, on June 7-9, 2010. The schedule of the Session included a plenary session, meetings of bilateral business councils and workshops on different areas of cooperation, as well as meetings between representatives of business circles of Russia and Arab countries.
The plenary session was attended by high profile representatives of Russian ministries and official institutions, Russian and Arab businessmen, extensive delegations from Iraq, Morocco, Bahrain, Yemen, Tunisia, Palestine, and other countries, as well as the Head of the Mission of the Arab League in Moscow H.E. Jumaa Al-Ferjani, Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Arab States in Moscow, and representatives of diplomatic missions.
The opening speech was delivered by H.E.Vladimir Evtushenkov, the Chairman of the Russian-Arab Business Council and the President of JSFC “SISTEMA”, who welcomed the guests of the session and described the current positive state of development of the Russian-Arab cooperation. Mr. Evtushenkov reminded the guests that “recently, in May 2010, the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev paid an official visit to Syria, and in June 2009 he visited Egypt. Russia continues to adhere to a policy of extending the active cooperation with the Arab world. And it is advisable that the dialogue of business communities of Russia and the Arab states should not lag behind the political activity of the leaders of our countries”.
Mr. Evtushenkov also noted that “the organization of the International Exhibition “Arabia-EXPO 2010” and the business programme within its framework attended by Russian and Arab businessmen proves the enthusiastic approach of business circles in our countries. Such events make a significant contribution to the progressing to the new stage of global cooperation”.
H.E. Alexander Saltanov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and the special envoy of the President of the Russian Federation to the Middle East, delivered greetings to participants and guests of the 2nd Arabia Expo 2010 exhibition and the 9th session of the Russian-Arab Business Council. The message reads, in part: "It is important that these events, as part of our dialogue with the Arab world, have become a positive tradition. This confirms our mutual interest in intensifying trade and economic, research and investment cooperation, as well as in implementing large-scale projects in energy production and various industries including high tech, infrastructure and agriculture. “
“Constructive and substantive dialogue between the leaders of economic agencies and the business communities of our countries is meant to cultivate the foundation of friendship and mutual respect, which has developed in decades of Russian-Arab cooperation. Russian experts have participated in the construction of many industrial, energy, transport and irrigation facilities in the Middle East. Thousands of Russian university alumni are part of the political, business, scientific and cultural elite of the Arab world.“
“Our priority goal is to promote Russian-Arab relations to a qualitatively new level and to encourage our economic cooperation.”
Mr. Saltanov also made a speech on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia and noted, in particular, that the development of trade and economic cooperation with the Arab world continues to be a priority goal for Russia.
The floor was then given to H.E.Evgeny Primakov, the President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Russia who stated that the cooperation between Russia and the Arab world should develop not only on the top political level, but also on the level of private business and separate regions. Mr. Primakov noted that though the volume of trade deals is growing (it increased from $6 billion in 2008 to $10 billion in 2009), this dynamics is insufficient.
The President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry stated that Russia welcomes the growth of cooperation of the Arab countries with China, Europe, and India, however this growth should not proceed at the expense of relations with Russia. He added that according to a theory by the Russian economist Kondratyev, each global economic cycle continues for about 60 years, culminates in a crisis, which leads to proceeding to a new technological level. Therefore he expressed confidence that the cooperation of Russia with the Arab states should take place not only in the field of raw materials and fuel, but also in the sphere of development of new, highly advanced industries.
Welcoming speeches were also delivered by the key guests of the session, including H.E.Adnan Kassar, the Minister of State of Lebanon, President of the General Union of Arab Chambers, H.E.Tamer Al-Ani, Director of Research and Strategic Relations Department in the Arab League, H.E.Abdalla Saleh, Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Trade in the United Arab Emirates, and others. These speeches expressed a high opinion on the current state of the Russian-Arab relations and gave approval to the efforts made by the Russian-Arab Business Council and aimed at the activisation of business ties and the promotion of the Arabia-EXPO exhibition.