Ferrero-Waldner on the 25th anniversary of the UN Headquarters in Vienna
"United Nations are part of the Austrian identity"
Vienna, 23 August 2004 - Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero-Waldner emphasised the great importance of the UN Headquarters in Vienna on the occasion of the celebrations for the 25th anniversary of the Vienna International Centre (VIC): "In the course of its 25 years of existence, the UN Headquarters in Vienna have become an important office of the United Nations. In addition to the IAEA, important UN organisations such as UNIDO, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC) are located in Vienna. The UN Headquarters in Vienna have thus become a worldwide centre of international cooperation regarding matters such as the peaceful use of nuclear energy, disarmament and the fight against illegal drugs and crime."
Ferrero-Waldner also referred to the prominent role the United Nations have historically played in Austrian foreign policy after World War II: "One of the focuses of Austrian foreign policy has always been aimed at strengthening the United Nations and ensuring the respect of the UN Charter as a prerequisite for peace and stability. The high esteem that Austria holds for the United Nations is evidenced particularly by the UN Headquarters Vienna, numerous international conferences that have been held in Vienna such as the UN World Conference on Human Rights in 1993, and the many international treaties and conventions that were adopted in Vienna.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs also pointed out that the UN Headquarters in Vienna "have provided significant stimulus to the city of Vienna and Austria in terms of internationality and economic and cultural benefits. More than 4000 UN employees from over 100 countries contribute to an international atmosphere where people from various cultures and societies meet and exchange their views. This environment is a fertile ground for the dialogue of civilisations, which is nowadays becoming ever more important."
According to Ferrero-Waldner, the excellent relations and smooth cooperation maintained between the United Nations and Austria have become visible many times during the 25-year existence of the UN Headquarters in Vienna: "I think that I can rightly say that the UN have meanwhile become part of the Austrian identity. Furthermore, the VIC has become one of the most significant symbols of Vienna, which reflects the international and modern character of this city in an impressive way." Regarding the future of the United Nations, the Foreign Minister underlined her wish that "the United Nations are given the importance worldwide that they deserve as a peace-keeping organisation. I have also repeatedly stressed that I feel that the United Nations should be strengthened," said the Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Finally, Benita Ferrero-Waldner re-emphasised that "Austria is proud that the United Nations have one of their headquarters in Austria."