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    BEIRUT, May 21 (RIA Novosti) - The first ever Russian-Arab forum Banks and Investments which is opening today in the capital of Lebanon may lay the foundations of Russia's successful business with Arab states, head of the Russian delegation, chairman of the Russian-Arab business council Vladimir Yevtushenkov said in an interview with RIA Novosti.

    "From the Beirut forum we are waiting for new connections, new acquaintances, and this is what makes business a success," Yevtushenkov said.

    The aim of the forum is to promote the establishment of Russian-Arab trade-economic and banking relations at a qualitatively new level, the development of business between Russia and the Middle East countries, Yevtushenkov specified.

    "We do not expect the conclusion of agreements on specific contracts or projects at this forum. At present Russia is studying and tapping a new market- the Lebanon, something we were engaged in about 20 year ago, prior to the Civil War of 1975-1990 in this country," he added.

    "As our contacts will be expanding new projects will appear in various fields," Yevtushenkov said.

    In his words, "now Russia is tapping new markets in Europe, East Asia, in particular in Arab states." "A business meeting in Beirut is unique due to the fact that this is a purely Russian-Arab meeting, in this case the Russian-Lebanese meeting," said the head of the Russian delegation, which includes representatives of a great number of banks from various regions of Russia.

    The forum is being held under the patronage of the Lebanese prime minister Rafik al-Hariri, who is to address the forum at the opening ceremony.

    To take part in the forum are also President of the Union of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of the Lebanon, the Honored president of the International Chamber of Commerce Adnan Kassar, the Lebanese ministers, representatives of banks and businesses, as well as delegations from a number of Arab states.

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