"The decision of the leadership of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to lift restrictions on the entry of foreign nationals vaccinated with the Russian Sputnik-V vaccine was the result of intensified interaction in bilateral relations as well as the activation of our humanitarian contacts with the Islamic world as a whole," said Farit Mukhametshin, Deputy Chairman of the Group of Strategic Vision "Russia-Islamic World".
Throughout the years 2020-2021 the GSV has conducted a number of activities in the Islamic world. The Group held a series of events at which the topic of the benefits of domestic vaccines was repeatedly raised. The apogee of these activities was the VI meeting of the Group of Strategic Vision "Russia - Islamic World", held November 24-25, 2021, in Jeddah. By special arrangement those who had been vaccinated by the Russian vaccine could visit the meeting. Mr. Mukhametshin supposed that the Saudi side took into consideration the fact that the participants from Russia were not ill, and also that most of them had been vaccinated with Sputnik-V.
The November meeting of the Group discussed the prospects of Hajj travel and attendance of business meetings in the KSA by those vaccinated with the Russian anti-COVID agent. Senator Mukhametshin, who is also the deputy chairman of the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs, noted that earlier the corresponding appeals to the authorities of the KSA were sent by Ilyas Umakhanov, Hajj Commissioner at the Commission for Religious Associations under the Russian Government, and Mufti Ravil Gaynutdin, head of the Religious Board of Muslims of Russia. Similar requests were received by the Saudi side from a number of Muslim countries, including Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.
One of the most important meetings of the Group of Strategic Vision in Jeddah was the meeting of President of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov with the Governor of Mecca Province, Advisor of the King of Saudi Arabia, Emir Khaled bin Faisal Al Saud, who highly appreciated Russia's involvement in the Muslim world, which "helps strengthen the relationship between religious and secular organizations".
King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, in his message to the panel, described the current stage of the Russian-Saudi partnership as a "qualitative leap" in bilateral relations.
As Senator Mukhametshin summed up, "Saudi Arabia's recognition of the Russian vaccine in the face of unprecedented competition against Russia in the anti-COVID markets is a demonstration of a friendly disposition and constructive approach to interaction with our country." In his opinion, the approval of Sputnik-V was a confirmation of the Saudi side's readiness to expand the range of humanitarian cooperation with Russia and through it to deepen trust and partnership at the regional and global levels.
GSV "Russia - Islamic World"
Photo: Federation Council