Putin hails proposal for religious leaders' meeting
MOSCOW. Feb 23 (Interfax) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that an initiative by the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Alexy II, to hold a meeting of leaders of principal global religious communities in Moscow in July "is very good and comes at the right time."
The meeting "will become an additional contribution to the improvement of interaction between people of various faiths, ethnic groups, and nationalities," Putin said at a meeting with Alexy.
The patriarch expressed hope that the meeting would look for ways of surmounting any kind of confrontation between religious communities and seek closer inter-community cooperation.
He pointed out that the meeting would precede a planned summit in Moscow of the Group of Eight industrialized countries (G8).
Putin responded that this was not the only reason why he thought the proposed meeting was well-timed.
"There is a great need for [such a meeting]: we see what is happening in some Muslim countries in connection with the so-called 'cartoon scandal,' and your initiative is very important," he said.