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Sergey Lavrov’s speech at a reception on the occasion of the Islamic New Year, Moscow, October 3, 2016



3 October 2016   17:28
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s speech at a reception on the occasion of the Islamic New Year, Moscow, October 3, 2016

1799-03-10-2016
Ladies and gentlemen,
Friends,
We are happy to welcome you at this event devoted to the Islamic New Year. By tradition we are celebrating it with the ambassadors of the member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), representatives of Russian federal authorities and major Russian religious associations, public figures, academics and political scientists.
Relations between Russia and Muslim nations are friendly and based on mutual respect and consideration of each other’s interests. Working together, in the past few years we have achieved meaningful results in our efforts to bolster multifaceted ties for the benefit of our nations. The OIC is our partner in the search for answers to the many challenges and threats of our times and in promoting dialogue between different civilisations, religions and cultures.
We are united by serious concern over the developments in the Middle East and North Africa. This region is literally bleeding, undermining the foundation of stability far beyond the geographical borders of the Middle East itself.  These events are a direct consequence of the policy of those countries that are trying to implement the concepts of overthrowing objectionable regimes, including by force, refashioning the regional landscape, and imposing unilateral actions and their own views on so-called “democratisation” on the region’s countries without taking into account their historical and cultural traditions. The conflicts in Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Syria are graphic examples of this approach. The situation surrounding the Palestine-Israel conflict is tense, while the Middle East peace process has reached a major impasse. The unprecedented surge of the terrorist threat is a source of particular concern. Today this threat is the main challenge to the entire international community.
Russia is not seeking to selfishly benefit from the instability in the region or to assert its influence by reshaping the landscape of the Middle East. We are interested in overcoming all crises by political and diplomatic means on the firm foundation of international law and are vigorously working towards this. We consistently advocate respect of the sovereignty of the region’s countries and oppose interference in their domestic affairs.
As I have already said, we consider the pooling of efforts to counter terrorism and extremism to be the most important task. The formation of a broad anti-terrorist front is now more in demand than ever before. As you know President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin put forward this initiative at the UN General Assembly a year ago. Now Russia is drafting a resolution of the UN Security Council that is designed to mobilise the world community in resisting the spread of terrorist and extremist ideology. We are ready to cooperate with Muslim countries on these issues.


To be continued...

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At midday on Friday 5 February, 2016 Julian Assange, John Jones QC, Melinda Taylor, Jennifer Robinson and Baltasar Garzon will be speaking at a press conference at the Frontline Club on the decision made by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on the Assange case.

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