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Articles > Islam and Muslims > Remarks by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at a reception for the Islamic New Year

Remarks by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at a reception for the Islamic New Year Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends,

Today is the New Year according to the Muslim calendar. Traditionally, we use this occasion to meet with ambassadors of member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, federal officials of the Russian Federation, as well as representatives of Russia’s major faith communities, and public and academic organisations. Welcome, everyone.

In his remarks during a meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi, President Putin gave a detailed and candid overview of the international situation. He said that the ongoing change in the world order was triggered by accumulated contradictions and widespread risks. The global and regional security system is compromised, fragmented and distorted, which can be clearly seen in the Middle East and North Africa. The destabilisation of the region, which may tangle up the various crises into one explosive knot, negatively affects the international situation. The rapid spread of the threat posed by extremist and terrorist forces, including the so-called Islamic State (ISIS), is a direct challenge to the international community and, primarily, our partners in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

Russia advocates the consolidation of international efforts to combat this common threat. We are providing consistent support, including through arms and military equipment supplies, to the governments of Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Jordan and other countries in the region as they combat terrorists and extremists.

We are convinced that combating terrorism and extremism should be based on the solid foundation of international law under the auspices of the UN Security Council. Unilateral air strikes on ISIS on Syrian territory performed without the consent of the Syrian government are at odds with these principles.

To successfully combat terrorism, we must focus – in addition to the military threat posed by jihadist groups – on the root causes of this phenomenon. We will be able to overcome the host of contradictions only if the international community joins efforts and deepens dialogue and partnership, while respecting the right of peoples to preserve their cultural, religious and civilisational identities. A comprehensive analysis is needed to understand the connections between the most important problems that afflict this region, including the Arab-Israeli conflict. Russia has suggested conducting such an analysis under the auspices of the UN Security Council. We expect our initiative to be met with a positive response.

We do not believe there is a military solution to any conflict, be it in Syria, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, or the Sahel-Sahara Region. Only national dialogue with the participation of all ethnic, religious and political groups can lead to consensus, stability and the necessary preconditions for successful socioeconomic development in countries embroiled in conflicts. Russia is prepared to continue contributing to the effort to identify effective ways to resolve political crises both bilaterally and multilaterally.

Together with our P5+1 partners and Iranian colleagues, we plan to actively work toward a comprehensive settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue and seek out compromises on all outstanding aspects.

We expect that the national unity government, formed following the presidential elections in Afghanistan, will strengthen the Afghan state, improve collective efforts to stabilise the country and the situation in the entire region, and neutralise terrorist and drug trafficking threats.

Russia is open to expanded cooperation with all states and associations on an equal and mutually beneficial basis. Respect for partners and their interests and greater mutual trust are in keeping with the objective trend towards a multipolar world.

This approach characterises the ongoing dialogue between Russia and the OIC. This year, we met twice with its Secretary General Iyad bin Amin Madani, once during my visit to OIC headquarters in Jeddah. Political consultations between the Russian Foreign Ministry and the OIC General Secretariat were a success. Such contacts open new paths for our cooperation, including coordination in the UN and other international organisations.

We have similar approaches to current international issues, including cooperation in the sphere of human rights. Notably, Russia pays special attention to upholding the rights and freedoms of Russian citizens and supporting the cultures and traditions of all the peoples of our country, including the Crimean Tatars. President Putin signed an executive order on rehabilitating the Crimean Tatar people. The equality of three languages in Crimea, including Crimean Tatar, was enshrined in law. A nearly 700-billion-rouble federal targeted programme was approved for the development of Crimea and Sevastopol to 2020. These measures seek to create decent living standards and conditions for the sustained development of every nation in their homeland.

Relations between Russia and Muslim nations are multi-dimensional. The annual International Economic Summit of Russia and the OIC Countries in Kazan is becoming more and more influential. The Russia-Islamic World Strategic Vision Group will resume its work soon. Our cooperation in these and other areas helps improve our friendly relations and our joint contribution to resolving key international problems.

Happy New Year! I wish you good health, happiness and all the best to you and your families, and peace and prosperity to the countries that you represent.

Moscow, 29 October 2014
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

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