The Fifth Jubilee Session of the RABC in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

On February 28 - March 1, the Fifth Joint Session of the RABC was held under the patronage of the Minister of Commerce & Industry of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Hashim Yamani.

Taking part in the session were Chairman of the Council of CCT For Arab countries, Rashid ar-Rashid Co-chairman of the Russian-Saudi BC, Chairman of the Board of directors with Al-Hadi Al – Qahtani & Sons Corporation, Tariq Abdel Hadi Al-Qahtani, Secretary General of the General Union of Chambers of Commerce Industry and Agriculture for Arab countries, Ilyas Ghantous, President of the Council of the General Union of Chambers of Commerce Industry and Agriculture for Arab countries , Adnan Kassar, President of the Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture for Beirut and Mountain Lebanon, Ghazi Qureitm, Co –chairman of the Russian-Lebanese Business council, Jacques Sarraf, President of the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Haled Abu Ismail, co-chairman of Russian- Egyptian Business Council, President of KATO-Investment, Ibrahim Kamil, Deputy Chairman of the Union of Chambers of Commerce and Industry for Syria, Co-chairman of the Russian-Syrian Business Council, Mohammed Saleh Al –Mallah, Co-chairman of the Russian-Yemeni Business Council, Yousef Abdul Wadud as well as President of several leading companies and businessmen from the Sultanate of Oman, Bahrain and other Arab countries.

The Russian delegation to thus Forum was led by Adviser Russian President, Aslambek Aslakhanov. Among the delegates were Director of the RABC, Advisor to the President of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation, Tatyana Gvilava, Vice-President of Sistema, Sergey Cheryomin, General Director of Zarubezhvodstroi , Co-chairman of the Russian-Yemeni Business Council, Yevgeni Gudzenchuk, President of the Islamic Culture CentreAbdul Wahed Niyazov, President of Intourist, Co-chairman of the Russian-Omani Business council, Aleksandr Arutyunov, President of Akropolis , Ahmed Palankoyev, President of Gruppa Kompaniy Konti, Timur Timerbulatov, Chairman of the Board of Directors with Rossiyskiy Kapital, Irina Kireyeva as well as many other representatives of leading Russian companies and holdings.

President Vladimir Putin sent his address to the participants in the Firth Joint Session of the RABC. He characterized the development of Russian-Arab relations as a significant vector in his country’s foreign policy and emphasized the importance of consolidating direct contacts between the two business communities.

“The development of Russia’s multi-faceted relations with Arab countries has always been and still is a crucial vector in Russia’s foreign policy. An important part is to be played by strengthening direct contacts between Russian businessmen and their Arab partners which are not without active assistance rendered by the RABC-steadily expanding. This is contributing to growing economic interaction that is becoming more dynamic and meaningful from year to year. I’m certain (he further said) that the RABC will continue rendering substantial assistance in the promotion of economic partnership and thus contribute to the development of a constructive Russian-Arab cooperation in general.”

The RABC Session called for the establishment of Russian-Arab partnership aimed at intensifying investment interaction and promoting trade ties between Arab countries and Russia.

In his address during the opening of the 5-th Session, the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Hashim Yamani, recognized the importance of establishing partnership relations by means of formation of a Russian-Arab shared-capital investment and services both in Russia and Arab countries. Russia, the Minister noted, has a significant potential for the development of fruitful cooperation with Arab countries.

“It is common knowledge that joint committees of businessmen play a vital part in the promotion of all economic sectors both at a local and regional and at an international level, and the RABC serves as an effective tool instrumental in the broadening of commercial and investment cooperation between Russia and the Arab world. The governments of our countries in their hopes on the RABC in the promotion of such interaction for the benefit of our peoples, ” - the Saudi Minister noted.

As the Head of the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Abdul Rahman Al-Rashid said, it is imperative at this stage of development to work out an instrumentary for promotion of effective cooperation both inside the Arab community and the Arab world and Russia. The need for this strategy is increased by liberalized commerce, free capital investment movement, the formation of economic blocs and the removal of tariff and non-tariff limitations.

As President of the Council of the General Union of Chambers of Commerce Industry and Agriculture for Arab countries, Adnan Kassar noted, the previous RABC session saw certain progress in basic strategic of mutual understanding between Russia and the Arab world as well as main directions in interaction between them. Strong friendship ties linking Russia and have largely contributed to the consolidation of his country’s relations with Russia, he further said “In the last Moscow session of the RABC I suggested creating an Arab-Russian investment fund (with 50% Russia and 50% Arab capital) to invest in industry, agriculture and services both in Russia and Arab countries”, he noted. “Another proposal was to form a center for technology transfer between Russia and the Arab world”.

The RABC director, Tatyana Gvilava, emphasized the need to use the full extent the potential of business councils, pointing out the particular priority given to the activities role of such structures by Russian president, Vladimir Putin. T. Gilava noted that currently the investment climate in Russia is very favorable.

According to her, a plot of land covering an area of 5 hectares in Moscow has already been agreed upon by the city’s authorities to erect an Arab-Russian Centre, composing several hotels, business centers, companies’ offices, etc.

According to the RABC director all opportunities have been opened in Russia for a successful development of Russia-Arab relations, however it is businessmen and entrepreneurs who will have the final say.

“A rather favorable climate is being formed (for businessmen) in our country, which can result in productive joint activities in the sphere of further development of Russian-Arab relations for the benefit of our peoples”, she said. “But no matter how welcoming the financial and economic environment could be in our countries now and in future, it is on us that final result will depend, on how energetically, purposefully, constructively and successfully we use this environment for our activities.”, T.Gilava said. “We hope that the results of our joint effort will mark-in the 21-st. century- the beginning of a new historic stage in the evolution of Russian-Arab relations in general and Russian-Saudi contacts, in particular”, she emphasized.

The leaders of the delegations participating in this large Russian-Arab forum were received by the King of Saudi Arabia, Abdallah, in the Al-Yama Palace.

The Russian delegation was represented by Advisor to the RF President, Aslambek Aslakhanov, RABC Director, Advisor to President of the RF, Tatyana Gvilava, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the RF to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Victor Kudryavtsev, Deputy Director of the RABC, Victor Lutsenko.

In the course of the meeting, the Head of the Council of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Chairman of the RABC Arab part, at the Fifth Session, Abdurrahman Rashid Al-Rashid, submitted to , His Majesty, the monarch of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia information about the ongoing session and the issues under consideration…

The King welcomed the session participants on the Saudi land, gave his high appraisal of RABC activities and wished the forum participants success in their work