Russia to strengthen ties with Islamic nations

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday that his nation intended to strengthen relations with Islamic countries, emphasizing that closer ties could help resolve key international problems. "There are many problems which require our more effective and active cooperation: the Middle East peace process, in particular Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan and the situation surrounding the Iranian nuclear program," Lavrov said at a reception for ambassadors from Organization of Islamic Conference member states. "We wish to see all these problems resolved fairly on the basis of international law and existing agreements," Lavrov said. The 57-nation OIC agreed last year to invite Russia to attend future meetings as an observer.