26 September 200313:09

ON RUSSIAN RELATIONS WITH THE GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL (FACT SHEET)

2119-26-09-2003

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Unofficial translation from Russian

On Russian Relations with the Gulf Cooperation Council

(Fact Sheet)

Russia's diplomatic relations with the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) were established in the second half of the 80s - the beginning of the 90s with the exception of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (1926) and Kuwait (1963): with Oman in 1985, with the UAE in 1986, with Qatar in 1988, and with Bahrain in 1990. Over this period a fairly active political dialogue has been established and is being maintained. Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Igor Ivanov's meetings with the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the countries of the Arab Six in New York within the framework of UNGA sessions have assumed a traditional character. In November Ivanov visited Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, where he held talks on pressing international and regional problems. February and July 2002 saw the trips to GCC countries of Alexander Saltanov, Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. In November 2002 Abdulrahman al-Atiyyah, GCC Secretary General, visited Moscow. He held talks with Igor Ivanov, Igor Yusufov, Yevgeny Primakov and Alexander Saltanov. In accordance with the agreement reached during the visit, the Russian side prepared and transmitted to the GCC leadership a Draft Protocol on the creation of a mechanism for political dialogue and cooperation between the Russian Federation and the Council.

Inter-parliamentary ties are developing. In this field contacts are particularly actively being maintained with Kuwait.

In the economic area intergovernmental trade-and-economic agreements have been concluded with a number of Council states. Agreements on avoidance of double taxation are signed with Kuwait, Qatar and Oman. Draft agreements on the mutual encouragement and protection of investments and on avoidance of double taxation with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain are in the stage of elaboration.

The total volume of Russian trade with the GCC member states remains insignificant, though (about 500 million dollars in 2002, with UAE accounting for the lion's share - 350 million - and Saudi Arabia 120 million).

A step-up of Russian economic cooperation with the GCC states was noted in 2002. The first meeting of the Russian-Kuwaiti Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation took place in Moscow in August 2002, and the first meeting of the Russian-Saudi IGC was held in October 2002.

September 26, 2003

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