MOSCOW, September 5 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia must protect its state, strategic and business interests on the Arab countries’ market, Mikhail Bogdanov, the Russian deputy foreign minister, said at the meeting of the Russian-Arab Business Council on the premises of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation on Monday.
“The overall situation is such that the events in the Middle East and North Africa are beyond Russia’s control,” the deputy minister said. “We must preserve our positions in those countries as much as possible,” he said. “Libya’s new economics minister who will deal with the country’s economic restoration will arrive in Moscow this week,” Bogdanov said.
Summing up the results of the council’s work, Georgy Petrov, the vice president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that even though statistics usually come later it is already apparent that the total trade turnover with Arab countries, 10 billion dollars, is quite good. “This is a sizable share in Russia’s foreign trade turnover,” Petrov said. “We expect to preserve and, perhaps, increase this level by resuming grain export to the Arab countries’ market.” “This is quite important,” he stressed.
According to the vice president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Egypt, Morocco and Algeria hold the dominant positions in Russia’s trade with Arab countries. “There are, surely, islets of stability in the Arab world, and they are known,” Petrov remarked. “Wherever trade declines, it switches to other Arab countries where the political and economic situation favors this,” he said. “Therefore, I don’t think there will be some flop. Perhaps, only the geographic direction among Arab countries will change,” he said.
Vladimir Yevtushenkov, the president of the Russian-Arab Business Council, announced that the council’s meetings would be held twice a year rather than once a year as previously. The next council meeting is due in St Petersburg in October 2013.