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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 11/25/21

Russia-Islamic World Meeting opens in Saudi Arabia

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The meeting of the Group of Strategic Vision "Russia-Islamic World" opened on Wednesday in Saudi Arabia's city of Jeddah, during which Russia and Islamic states vowed to strengthen cooperation in various fields.

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in his inaugural speech said that Russia has deep-rooted relations with the Islamic world, as evidenced by its presence as an observer of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation for more than 15 years, which has resulted in fruitful cooperation with the organization. He added that more than 20 million Muslims live in Russia in harmony with their communities, and enjoy the right to freely practice their religious rites."

In the speech delivered on King's behalf by Governor of Mecca Prince Khalid Al Faisal, he hailed the deep-rooted Saudi-Russian ties that have exceeded 95 years and witnessed qualitative leaps in recent years. The development of relations led to signing of several agreements in economic, cultural and defense fields, he added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, for his part, highlighted the dedication of his country to developing friendly ties with Islamic states, according to a speech delivered on his behalf by Rustam Minnikhanov, president of Russia's Tatarstan Republic and head of the Group of Strategic Vision.

"Russia places great significance on the development of friendly relations with Muslim countries, both bilaterally and as part of a dialogue with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation,'' Putin said adding: ''It's important that we have very close positions on many timely issues of the regional and global agenda."

"Together, we support building a fair democratic world order, which is based on the rule of law and peaceful co-existence of states and is free of the dictate of force and any forms of discrimination," he went on to say.

The meeting's schedule includes a discussion of cooperation in settling regional conflicts and crises and fighting international terrorism and extremism, Putin said. Other topics will include joint efforts in trade, economic, scientific, research, humanitarian and other areas, he said.

The Russia-Islamic World Strategic Vision Group was created in 2006 after Russia joined the Organization of Islamic Cooperation as an observer.

The Group has held meetings in Moscow, Kazan, Istanbul, Jeddah and Kuwait.

The Group consists of 33 famous statesmen and public figures from 27 Muslim states, including former prime ministers, foreign ministers, a number of the most prominent theologians of the Islamic East from Indonesia, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, and many others.

The group is currently focused on developing measures to strengthen long-term cooperation between Russia and Islamic countries, coordinating joint measures to combat international terrorism, and the practical implementation of the strategic partnership between the Russian Federation and the Islamic world.

In November 2019, on the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Ufa, the capital and largest city of the Republic of Bashkortostan in Russia, hosted the meeting of the Group under the theme "Interfaith harmony: The Experience of Russia and Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation".

Russia-Saudia Relations

According to the Saudi Ambassador to Russia Abdulrahman Al Ahmed Saudi-Russia relations began in 1926 when Karim Hakimov was appointed as an envoy to the late King Abdul Aziz. That was followed by letters between the leaders of the two countries. In 1932, King Faisal, who was at that time the viceroy of the Hijaz and foreign minister, made an official visit to Moscow. In 1990, Prince Saud Al-Faisal visited Moscow to resume relations and sign agreements and political discussions between the two countries.

There was a qualitative leap in the relations between the two countries through the visits made by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Moscow in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. These visits were crowned with a visit by King Salman to Moscow in 2017, during which a number of agreements were signed. In 2019, President Vladimir Putin visited Riyadh, and again, several agreements were inked."

Tellingly, on August 24, during the International Military-Technical Forum "Army-2021," Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman (brother of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ) and his Russian counterpart, Colonel General Alexander Fomin, signed an agreement aimed at developing joint military cooperation between the two countries.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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