Under the patronage of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Prince Khalid Al Faisal, Advisor to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and Governor of Makkah, today inaugurated the Group of Strategic Vision “Russia-Islamic World” Meeting, which is held this year in Jeddah under the theme “Dialogue and Cooperation Prospects”. The meeting is held in the presence of Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov, who is also head of the Group of Strategic Vision, with the participation of officials, scholars and intellectuals from the Russian Federation and countries of the Islamic World.
Prince Khalid Al Faisal started the meeting with a speech delivered on behalf of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. Following is the text of the speech:
In the name of Allah most gracious, most merciful,
And peace be upon our Prophet Mohammed,
Your Highnesses, Your Excellencies,
Allah’s peace, mercy and blessings be upon you,
I start my speech with welcoming you on behalf of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, and I convey to you their greetings and true wishes of success for this meeting.
We convene here in Makkah Al Mukarramah Region to mark the second meeting for the group in the country of the Two Holy Mosques and the land of message and revelation.
I also welcome Rustom Minnikhanov, Head of the Group of Strategic Vision and President Tatarstan Republic, which Islam entered since the fourth Hijri century and has been contributing to spreading Islam and the teachings of Islam till the present, and this can be evident in Kazan’s hosting of the first Islamic university in Russia.
I also welcome the participating sheikhs, secretaries general of organizations and the attendees.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia highlights the importance of this strategic meeting between the Islamic world and the Russian Federation in enhancing regional and international security and stability, intensifying dialogue prospects among followers of various faiths and civilizations, and increasing cooperation in combating extremism and terrorism.
The Islamic religion is known for tolerance and moderation, which gave it acceptance by humanity with its various races, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia plays an honoring role in adopting the principles of moderation and coexistence, where it has actively sought to support regional and international efforts in this field and offered several initiatives, the most prominent of which are adopting the Makkah Declaration and supporting United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, where the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is committed to supporting any future efforts that aim at serving these principles out of its belief that diversity does not mean disagreement and that tolerance calls for sublimity.
Saudi-Russian ties are deep-rooted and solid and have exceeded 95 years and witnessed qualitative leaps during recent years and were marked with high-level visits between the two countries that led to signing several agreements in all economic, cultural and defense fields that paved the way to develop these ties and instill the level of confidence between our two nations.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Russia share several main principles, such as respecting the international legitimacy, establishing ties on the basis of mutual respect and the sovereignty, independence and unity of countries, and non-interference in domestic affairs, where both countries commit to a fair global system governed by the international law, which enhances security and stability and acts as a reference in solving regional conflicts. Also, Saudi Arabia and Russia enjoy memberships at G20 and OPEC Plus Group, which enabled both countries to adopt group work under the framework of these two groups to enhance international cooperation.
Russia, like the Islamic world, also adopts profound principles, especially that both sides share a deep-rooted cultural heritage that paves the way to activate the role of religious institutions, develop an environment that supports peaceful coexistence among followers of various faiths and races, preserve the role of family and spiritual values, and protect human rights.
Russia and the Islamic world also enjoy deep-rooted and instilled relations, which can be evident in its being an observer member in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation for more than 15 years, where this membership has resulted in fruitful cooperation with the Organization. Also, more than 20 million Muslims live in Russia in peace and harmony with their communities and enjoy the rights to practice their religious rituals freely.
The dynamic relations of Islamic countries with Russia are cross-cutting and diversified and pave the way to start bridges of scientific and technological cooperation and enhance ties in the fields of development, education, software and applications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The latest challenges facing our world have shown that we are all in the same boat, where there is no country or region that lives in isolation from the rest of the world, and this applies to political conflicts, spread of epidemics, economic recession, and climate change, in addition to several other global events and catastrophes. Accordingly, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia calls on the countries of the Group of Strategic Vision to enhance cooperation in facing these challenges in a bid to overcome these challenges with the least damages possible that might affect the future of our peoples, so that we can reach safety together.
The economic cooperation is the backbone for interdependence among countries of the Islamic world and Russia, and there are favorable opportunities for the countries of the Group of Strategic Vision to establish solid economic partnerships in several fields, such as the Halal products and Islamic finance and we have to invest them and work on their development.
In the end, I hope that this group will contribute to enhancing harmony among followers of various religions, developing dialogue among civilizations and cultures, protecting traditional, spiritual and household values that are facing change today, which require us to face such negative change and join efforts to avert its threats and move ahead steadily towards progress and sublimity.
Following that, a speech by Russian President Vladimir Putin was delivered. The Russian President's speech was delivered on his behalf by Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov, during which he expressed his appreciation and gratitude to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, for his interest in organizing the meeting of the Group of Strategic Vision.
In his speech, he expressed happiness for holding this meeting and his appreciation for all for their participation, and on the occasion of inaugurating the new periodic meeting that is held on this land.
He said: Russia places much attention to develop friendly ties with Islamic countries, whether at the bilateral level or through dialogue with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and it is useful that our stances regarding several difficult issues on the regional and international agenda are so similar, which calls on us all to build a just and democratic world based on the rule of law and peaceful coexistence among all countries away from any dictations that are based on power and all forms of discrimination.
He also said that the meeting's agenda is rich and intensified and discusses cooperation prospects in the fields of settling regional conflicts and the threats of international terrorism and extremism. We also have cooperation issues in the commercial, economic, scientific and humanitarian fields that deserve a serious concern, President Putin said, expressing hope for this joint action to be constructive and fruitful and to help enhance cooperation and mutual confidence among countries, wishing all success.
Then, Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov, who is also Head of the Group of Strategic Vision, delivered a speech that highlighted President Putin’s big concern in cooperation with Islamic countries since 2005 when Russia became an observer member of the OIC.
He said: We celebrated 15 years of establishing this relation, and ever since cooperation among our countries has gained high importance and is increasing to higher levels, and now it is clear that all attempts to impose one-polar new global system have failed, especially that many countries prefer independence and express their stances, where we have to benefit from forthcoming opportunities in our ties and to increase our activities in combating terrorism, defend our traditional moral values and protect those who need care, including national and religious minorities.
He further added: “We have to fight risks of the climate change and activate cooperation in all fields, where Russia is ready to help other countries and we seek for Russia’s ties with the Islamic world to set an example for all countries of the world, where the importance of this path is given to Russian regions with Muslim majorities, and one of these regions is the Tatarstan Republic, which is among the most developed regions of the Russian Federation and has huge economic and cultural capabilities.
He added that the Tatar model for peaceful and coherent cooperation among various religions and races is a model to solve several problems and implement tasks concerned with developing Russia as a whole. He also explained: “Our ancestors in Tatarstan in 922 have embraced Islam and Islam, ever since, has become one of the main religions in Russia, where our country was keen on establishing ties with several Islamic countries in various economic and cultural fields, in addition to our cooperation with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Islamic Development Bank; we develop our work in Islamic banking, and Kazan has recently become a center for the Muslim youth in Russian.