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14 Oct, 2009 16:41

Clinton lauds religious tolerance in Russian republic

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has arrived in Kazan, the capital of Russia’s Tatarstan republic, where she met with the republic’s president Mintimer Shaimiev.

Clinton told Shaimiev that she appreciates the republic’s role as a link between the Islamic world and Christianity.

“You are well known as someone who has fostered religious tolerance,” she told Tatarstan's president. “It really is a wonderful example of what can be done if people work together.”

The US official has also said that now she might call Shaimiev to receive his advice on how to help in tackling relations between different countries.

Clinton said that the sole fact that in Kazan’s Kremlin there is both a mosque and an Orthodox church means that the republic not only respects its past, but also looks forward.

The Secretary of State noted that the people of Tatarstan live in an atmosphere of tolerance which, according to her, is the only way into move into the future.

Hillary Clinton also paid a visit to Kazan State University where she talked to students and teachers about religious, cultural and ethnic diversity.

The Republic of Tatarstan is one of the most economically developed areas in Russia. Home to 107 nationalities, it has a Tatar and Russian majority that makes Islam and Orthodoxy the two major religions in the area.