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Source: Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC)
6 June 2006


PRESS RELEASE
 

The OIC Secretary General starts 4 days official visit to Moscow
 

At the beginning of his official visit to the Russian Federation from 5 to 8 June, 2006, Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, met H.E. Mr. Sergey Lavrov, Foreign Minister of Russian Federation, on 5 June, 2006 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
 
During the meeting the Foreign Minister expressed his gratitude for the acceptance of Russia as an Observer to the OIC and confirmed his participation in the upcoming Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers to be held in Baku from 19-21 June, 2006, which would be first of its kind since Russia became an Observer.
 
The Minister also thanked the Secretary General for his personal involvement in according Russia the observer status on an exceptional basis. Both the Secretary General and the Foreign Minister agreed that the association of Russia, a traditional supporter of the just causes of the Muslims, as an Observer with the OIC, would pave the way towards more support, cooperation and coordination in matters and issues of mutual concern and interests to Russian Federation and the Muslim world.
 
Current issues like the question of Palestine, situation in Iraq, and Iran’s nuclear file were raised during the meeting. Both the parties found themselves in line with each other regarding resolution of these issues. They both emphasized the importance of achieving peaceful solutions through negotiation and cooperation.
 
In this connection, the Secretary General briefed the Minister about his recent visit to Iran and his discussions with the Iranian high officials. The Minister, in his turn, briefed the Secretary General about the recent Western initiative on the Iranian nuclear file crisis.
 
The Secretary General expressed his sadness over the killing and kidnapping incident that targeted the members of the diplomatic staff of Russia in Iraq. He condemned all forms of terrorism and terrorist activities.
 
Evoking the issue of Chechnya, the Secretary General reiterated the OIC’s explicit stand which respects the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Russian Federation. The Secretary General expressed OIC’s willingness, stemming from a peaceful and humanitarian point of view, to provide help in different aspects of the problem. The Foreign Minister welcomed the proposal. He mentioned that many constructive steps are taken in Chechnya and also encouraged the OIC to send fact finding missions to see the current situation on the ground.
 
During his official visit to the Russian Federation, the Secretary General met also     His Holiness Alexy II, the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, at the latter’s residence on 5th of June.
 
The Secretary General thanked His Holiness the Patriarch for his audience and the warm welcome. He also mentioned the long history of peaceful co-existence between Islam and the Orthodox Church in Russia which has never witnessed any conflict. The Patriarch thanked the Secretary General for his insight of the history.
 
The Patriarch announced that a summit of religious leaders of different faiths from all over the world would be held in St. Petersburg on the eve of G-8 Summit. The main objective of the summit would be to attract the attention of the governments of the world to the necessity of ensuring the peaceful coexistence of different faiths. The Patriarch extended an invitation to the Secretary General to participate in the said Summit. The Secretary General thanked the Patriarch for the invitation and assured him of highest possible level participation of the OIC in the summit.
 
The question of the status of the holy city of Jerusalem was raised among other issues of mutual concern during the discussion and the Secretary General urged the Orthodox Church of Russia as well as the Patriarch himself to play more active role in preserving the historic status of the holy city of Jerusalem where Christianity, Judaism and Islam could coexist and flourish as ever before.
 
 
Jeddah: 6 June 2006.


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