Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud's visit is a sign of success for Russia's foreign policy in the Middle East. Established in 1926, our ties have gone through ups and downs but have grown to a new level in the past years. The monarch's arrival has been largely the result of the February visit to Saudi Arabia by the Tatarstan President.

Kamil Iskhakov, President of the Bolgar Islamic Academy, was a member of the delegation that witnessed negotiations between Mr. Minnikhanov and Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

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"This visit is the outcome of our trip to Saudi Arabia as part of a delegation headed by Rustam Minnikhanov. I know it was not easy. When I was Russia's envoy to the OIC, this issue was raised several times at different levels but nothing came out of it," Mr. Iskhakov said.

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According to Mr. Iskhakov, the king accepted the invitation thanks to diplomatic efforts by Mr. Minnikhanov.

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"We had a very good conversation with the king on Feb 7… Here's what Rustam Minnikhanov told him: "Vladimir Putin wanted to invite you to come to Russia once again, and we would appreciate if you could confirm that you will definitely come to Russia on a visit." To our surprise, the king replied immediately: "I promise that I will definitely come this year."

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Saudia Arabia's positive view on its cooperation with Moscow relies on Russia's long track of successful interaction with Muslim states.

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"Rustam Minnikhanov chairs the Russia - Islamic World strategic vision group that has a mission to bring closer Russia and Arab and Muslim countries. Chechen capital Grozny hosted the Group's third meeting in May. Even then we could hear an attitude by Saudi counterparts that was more than positive," says a piece in one of Russia's newspapers.

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