Arab countries hope to boost relations with Russia, Egyptian Finance Minister Medhat Hassanein told RIA Novosti at the Russian-Arab Banks and Investments forum in Beirut.
"The restoration and further expansion of Russian-Arab trade-economic relations offer a good opportunity for Arab producers to export their goods to Russia, and for the Arab world to get Russian products", the Egyptian finance minister said.
He stressed that mutually beneficial economic contacts between businessmen shape political relations and create an atmosphere of trust between the states.
"Events like this Russian-Arab business forum equally meet the interests of both sides", Medhat Hassanein said.
The next forum will be held in June 2004 in Russia. The Egyptian minister voiced confidence that Arab businessmen would bring along to Moscow a large number of projects and proposals aimed to develop Arab-Russian trade-economic contacts.
According to Russian chief delegate Vladimir Yevtushenkov, chairman of the Russian-Arab business council and AFK Sistema CEO, the first Russian-Arab Banks and Investments forum can pave ground for successful business between the Russian Federation and Arab countries.
"We expect new contacts and new acquaintances from the Beirut, which is the basis of business success", Mr. Yevtushenkov said.
"We don't hope for specific contracts or projects. Russia is now studying a new market, Lebanon, as it did about 20 years ago before the 1975-1990 civil war", he added.
"As contacts expand, new projects in different areas will appear", Mr. Yevtushenkov said.
"Russia is now actively developing new markets in Europe, East Asia and particularly Arab countries", he said.
"The singularity of the Beirut event is that it is a purely Russian-Arab, actually Russian-Lebanese meeting", the Russian chief delegate said. The Russian delegation is made up of representatives of many banks from different regions of Russia.