The decision by Saudi Arabia to allow direct flights for Crimean Muslims a sign of goodwill towards Russia, Veniamin Popov told the Russian daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta.

"The decision by the Saudi authorities to allow Crimean Muslims to fly directly to Mecca from the city of Simferopol is a sign of goodwill by Saudi leaders towards Russia that the Saudis always speak about during our meetings. But it doesn't go further than that yet," said Mr. Popov.

The Group's Coordinator believes it does not mean that Saudi Arabia recognizes Crimea as part of Russia.

"We appreciate the signs of goodwill by Saudi Arabia and the Kingdom's desire to help Russian Muslims but it's important not to rush. The Muslim  world in keeping a close eye on the seismic changes in the balance of forces underway right now. They see a multipolar world taking shape, and in this multipolar world Muslims are increasingly looking towards Russia. Why? Because other major players, other gravity centers are not that kind on Islam as Russia. President Putin has repeatedly said that Russia is part of the Islamic world, that Islam is the world's major religion, and that a synergy between Russia and the Islamic world can be a major factor of peace and stability on our planet," said Mr. Popov.