The Islamic nations want more trade with Moscow, Marat Khusnullin told RT
Islamic countries do not support the West's sanctions on Russia, and the agreements signed at this week's Kazan economic forum prove this, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin told RT on Saturday.
Bringing together delegations from Russia and the countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the 'Russia-Islamic World' forum in the city of Kazan resulted in hundreds of meetings and more than 100 trade agreements being signed, Khusnullin said.
"The forum has become a place where political and economic interests have gathered, because the countries of the Muslim world support us," he stated. "None of the countries of the Muslim world support sanctions against us."
While a handful of Arab nations - most notably Saudi Arabia and Egypt - formally condemned Russia over its military operation in Ukraine, no Islamic nation has followed the West's lead and imposed economic sanctions on Moscow.
Trade between the Islamic world and Russia has continued largely unimpeded, and Khusnullin revealed that more deals are in the works, including bilateral agreements on agricultural products and Halal food, crude oil processing, and banking.
Increased trade will be facilitated by the construction of the International North South Transport Corridor, a 7,200-kilometer span of ship, rail, and road routes for moving cargo between India, Iran, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia, and Europe. Moving freight from Russia to India is quicker and cheaper than via the traditional Suez Canal route, while eliminating the risk posed by EU sanctions.
"A lot of ground has been covered here," Khusnullin said. "People have exchanged connections, questions, and contacts, and this will give more and more momentum for the future."
This year's Kazan forum took place at a time of upheaval in the Islamic world. Aside from the broad refusal to join the West's sanctions regime, the oil-producing Gulf states have refused to increase production at the US' request, Saudi Arabia and Iran have resumed diplomatic relations after Chinese-brokered talks, and Syria has been welcomed back into the Arab League amid protests from the West.
Russia and Islamic nations share a common geopolitical vision, Syrian Ambassador to Russia Bashar Jaafari told RT on Friday. "The world needs to quickly move from the unipolar system to a multipolar system," Jaafari said, calling on Moscow and its Islamic partners to sign a "political declaration" in the near future.