Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Ambassador for Ties with International Islamic Organizations Veniamin Popov yesterday. In part, they discussed perspectives for Russia's entry into the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). According to the president's press service, Putin said that Russia is prepared to take financial responsibilities necessary for joining the OIC. Putin also confirmed his intentions for Russia to join the OIC in the first stage as an observer. Putin said that there are approximately 20 million Muslims living in Russia and, therefore, the country has a right to feel a part of the Muslim world.
Popov told Putin that the first stage of OIC membership does not require any financial responsibilities or dues. Popov also said that the chief significance of Russia's joining the OIC is psychological in character. Russia intends to take part as an observer in the upcoming OIC summit to be held in Malaysia in October.