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Ottawa, Canada (March 24th, 2010)

With great enthusiasm and gusto, Members of the Canada-Arab Business Council, and the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, hosted the bustling and well-attended 2010 Canada-Arab Economic Forum in Ottawa on March 24th. This marked Ambassador Bahah’s second year as a participant in this important event and again this year he was a guest at the Nexen Table for the evening’s Gala Dinner.

Despite last year’s economic downturn, the momentum of business links between Canada and the Middle East remains vibrant and prospers as evidenced by the experiences articulated by the many speakers at the morning sessions. Eminent politicians, academics, business leaders and financial experts all attested to the fact that business was indeed flourishing and that the future held enormous promise. The mood among the attendees, comprised of public and private sector individuals and an impressive contingent of Arab Ambassadors and diplomats, was upbeat and optimistic.

The Chateau Laurier was host to the evening’s Canada-Arab Business Council Gala Reception and Dinner at which Canada’s Minister of Trade, Mr. Peter Van Loan was the keynote speaker. As usual, this much anticipated event was an enormous success, with guests from a wide spectrum corporate, government and international entities.

As Dean of the Council of Arab League Ambassadors, HE Howar Ziad gave an energetic speech regarding the importance of the growing Canada-Arab relationship, making specific reference to the commitment and need for Canada to establish an Embassy in Yemen.

The Minister stressed the importance of Canada’s commercial ties with the Arab world and spoke of the importance of continuing to strengthen these ties and deepen our relationships and spirit of cooperation in order to ensure fiscal growth, investment opportunities and improved security in the future. Above all, he assured everyone that the Canadian Government is doing everything it can to send a clear message that Canada is open for business. As an example, he pointed to the Canada’s Free Trade Agreement with Jordan and the ever-growing Canadian oil, gas, products and services now present in the Middle East. Minister Van Loan concluded with the message that much as Canada looks forward to a profitable future, its focus goes beyond business and wishes to be a supportive partner in goals like peace, security and the rule of law.

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