President Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, Mr Secretary-General,
I must say that here within the Kremlin walls your title sounds quite organic indeed. But, witticisms aside, we are very happy to see our friends here in Moscow. We know that you made a great personal contribution to ensuring that Russia obtained the status of observer in the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, and we are very grateful to you for this because the millions of Russian citizens who are members of the Muslim faith have the right to feel that they are an organic part of the Muslim world.
Secondly, developing relations with the Islamic world is one of our country’s main foreign policy priorities. This is because we are deeply convinced that the division of the world along religious and civilisational lines is far more dangerous than divisions based on economic principles. We lived with these kinds of divisions for decades during the Cold War era and we believe that a new division of the world, this time along religious lines, would be extremely dangerous. Russia wants to do all it can to prevent this from happening. We support the ideas that were developed and set out in the declaration in Mecca and we hope for continued and fruitful development of our relations with all the countries of the Islamic world and with the OIC. I am sure that by working together we can do a lot indeed to resolve the most complex problems facing humanity today.
Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu: Mr President, Your Excellency,
I would like to express our sincere thanks and gratitude for this opportunity to meet with you today. I would like to express this gratitude on my own behalf and on that of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and my colleagues. I would like to express our thanks for the hospitality that has been offered to us. As for your witty remark on the organic link between the Kremlin and my post of secretary-general, I can tell you that I used to be a professor of organic chemistry.
The entry of Russia, your great country, to the Organisation of the Islamic Conference was an important event not just for Russia but for the entire Islamic world. I think that it has given new strength not only to the OIC but to all who defend peace and stability. I am pleased that it took place very quickly, within only six months since I became secretary-general of the organisation. I would like to say that all the OIC member states were eager to see this happen. Now we need to put in place the conditions for optimum development of our cooperation in all areas. We are especially pleased that Russia took part for the first time in the summit in Mecca as an observer. The summit formulated new objectives and a new vision and adopted an action programme for the next ten years. I think that this action programme and the declaration adopted at Mecca lay the foundation for opening up broad new perspectives for the development of relations between Russia and all the OIC member states.
Regarding the worrying problems the Muslim world currently faces, problems such as the situation in the Middle East, the sufferings of the Palestinian people, the Iraq problem and the situation with Iran, the Islamic world is grateful to Russia for its positive and constructive position with regard to settling these issues. I think that if we unite our efforts we will achieve considerable success in bringing peace and stability to the entire world and resolving these particular problems.
In conclusion, I would like to say that we in the OIC were very saddened by the news of the hostage taking at the Russian diplomatic mission in Baghdad. We condemn this act. We consider this a crime against humanity, against Islam, against the principles of international law and against the traditions of Islamic and Arab hospitality. Guests are being taken hostage and killed. This goes against our traditions and is not in accordance with any of our principles. We regret this act, condemn it, and hope that the members of your diplomatic mission taken hostage will be released as soon as possible. For our part, we are ready to do everything possible and everything we can to help you in this.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much.