Wien, 20. January 2003 Press release

Ferrero-Waldner Receives Argentina's Foreign Minister Dr. Carlos Ruckauf

20.01.2003

Numerous initiatives provide ideal basis for Austrian-Argentine relations

Vienna, 20 January 2003 - Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero-Waldner today received her Argentine counterpart to discuss various bilateral issues, current aspects of EU enlargement and the crisis in Iraq.

In a joint press conference held after the talks, Ferrero-Waldner expressed her hope for a lasting stabilisation of Argentina's economy, which would provide numerous Austrian enterprises with new investment opportunities. The Argentine Foreign Minister pointed out several initiatives and measures with which Argentina intends to improve and stabilise its economic and social situation. These measures include for example an increase in the country's tax revenue or the election of a new, independent president of Argentina's central bank.

With regard to the issue of the Eastern enlargement of the EU, Ferrero-Waldner stated that "given our close economic, social and political relations, Austria wants to perform its role as a bridge to Central Europe also with respect to Latin America".

When questioned about the situation in Iraq, both Foreign Ministers agreed that they would actively support a peaceful solution and that a war must be prevented in any case. "The monopoly of power lies in the hands of the United Nations Security Council," said Ruckauf.