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RIA Novosti

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MOSCOW SEES MUSLIM WORLD AS ITS ANTI-TERROR ALLY

21:22 25/05/2005
MOSCOW, May 25 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and the Muslim world are allies on the anti-terror cause, Sergei Lavrov, Russia's Foreign Minister, said in a greeting message to an international conference that gathered in Moscow under the motto, "Islam is religion of peace".

"We repudiate all attempts to identify Islam with terrorism. International terrorism it an enemy we all share. It was Russia and Muslim countries who came under terrorist attacks in the recent years. Proceeding from that, Moscow regards Russia and the Muslim world as no mere partners but allies in combat against the evil that threatens both of us."

There are roughly twenty million Muslims among the Russian population. That is why "we can be considered, to an extent, part of the Muslim world. Our relations with all Muslim countries have a long-established friendly purport."

The minister highlighted ever closer Russian economic, cultural and other contacts with Muslim countries.

As he pointed out, Russia highly appreciates the contribution of Islam to the formation of world culture.

"As we see it, the Muslim world is able, and in duty bound, to contribute to a current cause on which a new system of international relations is to form through team efforts and on the basis of equality.

"The Islamic world accounts for close on a quarter of the entire human race. It is impossible to settle burning global issues with which humanity has come face to face at the 21st century's start unless the Islamic world joins the cause. That is our firm conviction," Lavrov said.

As he reminded to the conferees, Russia had applied to join the Organization of the Islamic Conference in an observer's status. President Vladimir Putin attended the latest OIC summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as guest of honor.

The OIC has brought together more than fifty Muslim states.

"We regard all those developments as a reliable basis for Russia and Muslim countries to step up extensive contacts in the most diverse fields, with an emphasis on economic and cultural matters," the Foreign Minister concluded his message.

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