Interview with Vyacheslav Matuzov

Vyacheslav Matuzov, the Chairman of the Russia-Arab Countries Business Co-operation and Friendship Society, commented for Russia Today on the strengthening economic and cultural ties between Russia and United Arab Emirates.

Russia Today: This is the first visit of Russia’s head of state to UAE since 1971 and we know there is a lot on the agenda of these talks. So tell us which area of co-operation between the two countries is the most important one?

Vyacheslav Matuzov: My opinion is that this visit has a historical meaning because the United Arab Emirates is a very important part of the Islamic world. And for Russia it is extremely important to improve relations with the Islamic world in the political aspect. But besides the political background, we need  to develop of our economic relations with this region. And in this region, in the Persian Gulf area, the UAE is playing a leading role, and it is considered worldwide that the UAE is the number one state in the world for investment opportunities. The best investment opportunities among all countries are in the UAE. It holds the first place. So, from the position of investment opportunities, Russia is much interested in developing economic relations with the UAE.

RT: So, there is a strong interest in business ties there. And why do you think there are a lot of Russian businesses there and a lot of investments go that way? Why is that?

V.M.: Russians invest into this country on the private business level. But on the state level, the Emirates invest in Russia. I can tell you that the Kurgan Machinery plant alone, that produces military equipment, signed a contract with the UAE seven years ago for $US 1 BLN, and now, in Sharjah, they are assembling those military vehicles. That is why Russia really has some working projects there, and now Mr Putin is opening our church there, which means that quite a lot of Russian experts are working now in the UAE. Hundreds, maybe thousands of Russian specialists are working on assembling the Kurgan Machinery Plant, on the Atlant-Soyuz, the Ilyushin repair plant, now based in the UAE.

RT: So, there are heavy industry specialists working there but what about other areas of co-operation that exist between the two countries, and that will also receive a certain boost after this visit?

V.M.: Do not forget that Abu-Dhabi Emirate, one of the seven emirates of the UAE, is one of the leading world oil producers, and co-ordination policy in oil and gas. Things like the 'Gas OPEC' issue, technology for producing Liquefied Natural Gas are extremely important today for Russia because the world’s biggest LNG plant is situated inAbu Dhabi.