Chairman of the WIEF Foundation Musa Hitman opened a plenary session of the forum and Chief Minister of Sarawak Abdul Rahman Zohari bin Tun Abang Haji Openg and Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Adbul Razak delivered their welcoming speeches.
Speaking at the plenary session, Minnikhanov conveyed greetings and best wishes to the World Islamic Economic Forum on behalf of Russian President Vladimir Putin. “I am very glad to note that it was in Malaysia in 2003 when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced our country's intention to join the Organization of Islamic Cooperation as an observer. The Russian president then said that nearly 20 million Muslims living in Russia have every right to feel themselves part of the Muslim world,” he said.
"On the instructions of the Russian President, I head the Russia-Islamic World Strategic Vision Group, which consists of more than 50 experts from 32 countries. The main tasks of the Group are to facilitate the process of rapprochement of Russia with the Islamic world on a cultural and civilizational basis," Tatarstan President pointed out and said that the next meeting of the Group will be held in Saudi Arabia in 2018. The meeting will discuss problems of the global political and economic crisis, as well as security threats from IGIL (an organization whose activities are banned in Russia) and other terrorist organizations, he said.
"It is impossible to neutralize terrorism by local efforts only. The Russian President calls for setting up a broad anti-terrorist front involving Muslim and non-Muslim states. The end of hostilities in the Syrian Arab Republic is a successful example of such work, with Russia, Iran and Turkey being guarantors," Minnikhanov emphasized. “Obviously, the level of participation, and most importantly - the level of unity of Muslim states in combating terrorism are not sufficient. Muslims need to step over long-standing disputes and disagreements on minor issues to confront this disaster together. A strong and enlightened Islam does not pose a threat to anyone," he continued.
Tatarstan President also touched upon issues of economic cooperation between Muslim countries. "Economically developed Muslim countries can really contain excessive migration to Europe from the Middle East and Africa, since they will need manpower and can develop an effective social policy. The only way to leave the category of developing countries is mastering the latest technology. Financial resources are needed exactly for this purpose. Modern technology, science and education are the best investments. Today it is difficult to talk about one way out of the crisis and economic backwardness for Islamic countries. But at the same time, there are good growth points in a number of Muslim states. Malaysia is one of these countries," he said.
Speaking about Russia, Minnikhanov paid special attention the fact that Islam is a bright and integral element of the Russian cultural code. "A close dialogue between different faiths, based on common moral values - justice, diligence, desire for knowledge, love for the common Motherland make peoples of Russia united. This is the key to the successful functioning of our state. Preserving the rich traditions and way of life of all peoples, the Russian civilization is composed of, is the strategic task of the state," he continued.
Tatarstan President assured participants of the forum that the maintenance of friendly relations with Muslim countries is one of the priorities of Russia's foreign policy.
Summing up, Minnikhanov addressed the Forum with a proposal to establish mutually beneficial economic and cultural relations with Russia in a bolder fashion and invited them to attend the annual Kazan Summit economic forum to be held in Kazan on May 10-12, 2018 and thanked the organizers of the Forum for the invitation to hospitable Malaysia.