Vienna, 1 April 2004 - On 1 April Minister for Foreign Affairs Ferrero-Waldner met for talks with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who had come to Vienna at the Foreign Minister's invitation. The subjects discussed included Vienna as a headquarters of UN agencies, the situation in Kosovo and the recent negotiations regarding the reunification of Cyprus.
The Foreign Minister described the UN organisations headquartered in Vienna as "an important element in promoting Austria's standing and reputation in the world". She added that the work of the IAEO, as well as the activities of UNIDO or the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) made a considerable contribution to "highlighting Austria's role as a hub of international diplomacy".
Regarding the issue of Kosovo, Ferrero-Waldner stated that "all possible efforts would have to be undertaken to enable a peaceful coexistence of the ethnic groups and to prevent a recurrence of the recent outbreaks of violence". In this context, Austria had tabled the idea of greater decentralisation for Kosovo in EU-level discussions on the subject, since it would be impossible to arrive at reasonable solutions on the basis of "deadlocked all-or-nothing positions".
Commenting on the recent negotiations aimed at bringing about the reunification of Cyprus, the Foreign Minister stressed that the forthcoming accession to the EU offered a chance for reunification "that would not present itself again so soon". Ferrero-Waldner also praised the efforts undertaken by UN Secretary-General Annan to broker a solution to this difficult problem. Since the negotiations had so far failed to produce a settlement acceptable to both sides, the fate of the Mediterranean island, which has been divided for thirty years now, lay in the hands of the people of Cyprus themselves.