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Russia's foreign minister assured leaders of Islamic states on Friday
Russia's foreign minister assured leaders of Islamic states on Friday that the country intends to remain a strong ally to the Muslim world on all international issues.

Sergei Lavrov is attending a two-day summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in the capital of Senegal, Dakar, which started on Thursday.

"I want to assure you that the position of the Russian government is that Russia would never allow anyone to force it into a dispute with the Islamic world, however much they tried and however the international situation develops," Lavrov told the summit.

The minister said Russia and Muslim countries have a broad base for cooperation on international issues.

"Russia will always be an ally in your efforts to provide justice and equality in the modern world, and democratization of international relations, so that each state, irrespective of its size or cultural allegiances, can hold a strong position internationally."

He also passed on greetings from Russia's president-elect, Dmitry Medvedev, who will be inaugurated on May 7.

"President-elect of Russia Dmitry Medvedev asked me to deliver you his warm greetings and to confirm that Russia's course toward all-encompassing development of relations with the Islamic world on all levels will remain unchanged," he said.

Russia, home to over 20 million Muslims, was granted observer status in the Organization for the Islamic Conference in December 2005.

The alliance, formed September 25, 1969, is the second largest intergovernmental organization after the United Nations and has 57 member states spread over four continents.


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