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Tatarstan President: Russia, Islamic Countries to Meet in Saudi Arabia - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Jeddah – Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov said that Saudi Arabia would soon host a meeting between Russia and Islamic States to discuss joint “strategic vision”.

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Minnikhanov said that during his visit to Riyadh, he conveyed to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, a letter from Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which he said that he was very keen on the Saudi monarch’s visit to Russia.

Minnikhanov noted that the Saudi king has said that he would visit Moscow, without specifying the date of such visit.

He added that King Salman has informed him of his approval to host the “Strategic Vision” meeting between Russia and the Islamic world.

While Minnikhanov expressed optimism towards the opening of a new page in the relations with the U.S., he disapproved President Donald Trump’s executive order to ban residents of seven Islamic States from entering the U.S.

The president said that relations between Russia and the U.S. have greatly deteriorated during the term of former President Barack Obama and cooperation between the two countries was halted.

“We hope that the United States would restore its required role in this new era and that we expect that relations with Russia would be normalized,” he stated.

On the situation in Syria, Minnikhanov said that the Astana talks were a “very important and positive step” towards the achievement of a political solution to the crisis.

The talks “have provided an opportunity to re-launch national dialogue,” he added.

The president said that dialogue, “and only dialogue”, was the solution to end the crisis in Syria.

“Military solution is intolerable and there’s no better choice than a political solution,” he added.

Asked about his meeting with King Salman, Minnikhanov said that discussions touched on issues of common interests. He noted in his regard that he conveyed to the king a letter from Putin, in which the latter stressed his keenness on King Salman’s visit to Russia.

Minnikhanov said that the Saudi King has warmly accepted the invitation.

The president also praised Saudi Arabia’s efforts to fight terrorism, stressing the need for all Islamic States to unify their efforts to counter all forms of terrorist threats.