Vienna, 15 February 2007 - "I am pleased that Ban Ki-Moon has accepted our invitation to visit Austria and Vienna, one of the official seats of the UN, so soon after taking office. This confirms Vienna's importance as the only UN headquarters within the EU," said Foreign Minister Plassnik, referring to next week's visit to Vienna by the new UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.
The Secretary-General will meet for talks with Austria's most important representatives as well as with representatives of the Vienna-based UN Secretariat and UN organisations. The meeting with the Foreign Minister will focus on the current developments in the Middle East, the status negotiations on Kosovo and the dialogue among cultures and religions, as well as ongoing UN reforms.
"We shall continue the traditionally close and intensive cooperation between Austria and the United Nations under Ban Ki-Moon in the same successful manner as we have done so far. Ban Ki-Moon, who knows Austria well, is a guarantor for the further deepening of our relations," said Plassnik. In this context the Foreign Minister also underlined Austria's candidacy for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council for the period 2009 to 2010.
Ban Ki-Moon knows Vienna as an official seat of the UN from his former work as Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Vienna. "In recent years the Vienna-based international organisations have turned Vienna into a truly international centre of excellence for security issues. Combating terrorism, drug trafficking and organised crime as well as nuclear safety and energy security are vital themes of the future that are dealt with here in Vienna," emphasised the Foreign Minister.
"I should also like to draw the new UN Secretary-General's attention to Vienna as an ideal location for today's probably most challenging new theme, namely the dialogue between cultures and religions. The UN is the best global umbrella for it, and we must not waste any time. We have all been aware of this ever since the 'caricatures dispute' a year ago," concluded Plassnik.
Ministry for Foreign Affairs
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