Wien, 12. July 2006 Press release

Official opening of Austrian embassy in Podgorica

12.07.2006

Office premises shared with Hungary

Vienna, 12 July 2006 - The Austrian Secretary General for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Johannes Kyrle, and the Hungarian State Secretary Márta Fekszi Horváth today opened their respective embassies in Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro, in the presence of numerous high-ranking Montenegrin guests. The embassies of the two countries are housed in the same building, and Austria and Hungary will continue to share offices as they have done successfully so far. The opening of the embassies follows the assumption of diplomatic relations with Montenegro, which was recognised by Austria as a sovereign state on 12 June 2006.

The embassy, which is being headed by Florian Raunig on an interim basis, will continue to fulfil the functions of a coordination office for the Austrian Development Cooperation and Cooperation with Eastern Europe programmes and simultaneously strengthen Austria’s presence in Montenegro in general. "The opening of the embassy in Podgorica is in line with the Austrian goal of establishing a comprehensive presence in the region," said Kyrle.

In his welcoming address, Secretary General Kyrle referred to the traditionally close ties between Vienna and Podgorica, which find their expression, for instance, in such fields as tourism and culture. Austria and Montenegro are cooperating in the development of tourism in the region around Bjelasica and Komovi in the north of Montenegro as well as in the construction of a United Nations building in Podgorica. On 12 June 2006, the two countries also signed a protocol on cooperation in the fields of academia, education and culture for the years 2006 to 2009, which constitutes the basis for the further development of cooperation in the areas indicated. Economic relations between the two countries have also been intensified, especially with regard to the successful establishment of Austrian banks in Montenegro.

"The simultaneous opening of the embassies and their accommodation in the same building is also an expression of the ever closer relations between Austria and Hungary," continued Kyrle. Together with their partners in the Regional Partnership, both countries support a clear European perspective for the region. "During its EU Presidency Austria achieved long-term success in the integration process, not least with the support of the Regional Partnership countries," continued Kyrle. The Secretary General also affirmed that the region would continue to constitute an Austrian foreign policy priority in the future. "This, of course, also includes supporting Montenegro on its path towards Europe," Kyrle added.

Prior to the opening of the embassy, Secretary General Kyrle and State Secretary Fekszi Horváth together had talks with the Montenegrin Foreign Minister Miodrag Vlahović. Their itinerary also includes a visit to the former Austrian-Hungarian mission in Centinje.

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