Russian President at OIC summit

Russian President Vladimir Putin will continue working in accordance with the program of his routine visit to Malaysia. The Russian head of state is supposed to hold a number of bilateral meetings with his counterparts taking part in the summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, including with the Turkish President.

Yesterday the Russian leader met the Prime Minister and the Vice Premier of Malaysia, the Pakistani, Iranian and Afghan Presidents.

Vladimir Putin arrived in Malaysia yesterday on the host country's prime minister's invitation. As a guest, he took part in the opening of the 10th Conference of the OIC heads of state and government.

The Russian President first put forth an initiative on a closer interaction between Russia and the OIC during his working visit to Malaysia in August 2003. In September, the Russian leader received an official invitation to take part in the ceremonies of opening and closing the OIC conference as a guest.

Speaking yesterday before the Organization summit participants, Vladimir Putin expressed gratitude for being invited to a forum of such a big and influential international organization.

In his opinion, "Russia's participation will not only complete the bright palette of the OIC, but will also add new possibilities to its work, bringing the authority of a big Moslem community [of Russia], which does not separate itself from the world community of Moslems." Speaking to journalists, the Russian leader noted that "Russia's participation in the OIC is aimed at the attainment of domestic and foreign policy, as well as economic goals.

When a correspondent asked the President whether he felt uncomfortable at the beginning of the summit, the Russian leader said: "This is a wrong impression. I am the head of a multi-confessional state and visit not only Orthodox churches, but mosques as well; I meet with Moslem leaders. There's nothing new for me in the [summit] atmosphere."

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