Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s answer to a question by the Novy Vek TV and Radio Company as part of the Tatarstan Today. Open to the World project, Moscow, May 18
Question: The Group of Strategic Vision “Russia – Islamic world” was established in the 2000s. Today, this group is headed by President Rustam Minnikhanov. Do you think it is efficient? What objectives is it pursuing in the face of new challenges?
Sergey Lavrov: My ministry is collaborating with Tatarstan most actively to ensure a rhythmic and effective operation of the Group of Strategic Vision “Russia – Islamic world.” It was created when Yevgeny Primakov was in office as an intellectual club, where political scientists, experts and representatives from relevant countries would analyse the paths of the world’s strategic development from the point of view of relations between Russia and the Muslims. Since then, the Group has evolved into a very important forum. Five meetings have been held; in recent years, the meetings take place in Kazan. President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov is the irreplaceable head of this Group from Russia.
In parallel to strategic and political debates, an international economic forum, Russia – Islamic World: KazanSummit, has been created and is functioning successfully. It is an economic dimension of the Group of Strategic Vision and of our relations with the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). We are not forgetting about the humanitarian track either. The Aitmatov Readings for the Dialogue of Cultures is an established format for contacts between intellectuals, scientists, writers and humanitarians in the broadest sense of the word; it is also a subdivision of sorts of the Group of Strategic Vision. This is a very useful format that we have been promoting in every way. Its importance for Russia’s foreign policy is illustrated by the fact that Saudi Arabia has volunteered to host the next, sixth, summit of the Group of Strategic Vision “Russia – Islamic world.” So, I think that this is a very promising initiative that has emerged as an inalienable part of our agenda in relations with the Islamic world.