Vienna, 28 September 2007 Press release

State Secretary Hans Winkler at UN General Assembly in New York


Vienna, 28 September 2007 - Next Sunday, 30 September, State Secretary Hans Winkler will travel to New York to attend the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly. In addition to holding numerous bilateral talks on international issues, he will attend two international conferences held within the framework of the general debate. Among others, Winkler will meet with the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, Yemen and Eritrea, as well as with the Deputy Prime Minister of the Bahamas. Another topic that will be raised is Austria’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council for the period 2009-2010.

Winkler will also attend a conference on children in armed conflicts, a follow-up conference to the international meeting organised by France last year. "In the past decade more than two million children have been killed in armed conflicts. According to recent estimates there are currently about 300,000 child soldiers worldwide. The fact that innocent children have to handle weapons instead of playing with toys is despicable, and we can only do away with it through concerted action," stated the State Secretary.

Winkler will also participate in a conference on the dialogue between cultures and on cooperation for peace. "Promoting discussion on the compatibility of different cultures and religions is globally becoming ever more important. It is sometimes easier to build clichés and enemy stereotypes than to meet one another half way, unemotionally and through dialogue. However, our only way of achieving a secure and peaceful existence is through practical cooperation, a long-term strategy of regional and global conflict management and development cooperation programmes," asserted the State Secretary.

Winkler will also meet with representatives of the American Jewish Committee and of B’nai B’rith International, one of the largest international Jewish organisations, and hold a lecture on "The application of force in international relations" at the New York University School of Law, which will be followed by a discussion with the students of this renowned American university. The main focus of this debate will be on the role of the United Nations and the Security Council in conflict prevention and conflict management. "Safeguarding world peace and international security is the UN Security Council’s key responsibility. Its strengthening as well as the modification and extension of this body’s powers in recent years require repeated adjustments to the altered framework conditions. Here as well as in the EU context, Austria has established itself as the leader of a coalition of likeminded states to strengthen international rule of law," concluded the State Secretary.

Federal Ministry for
European and international Affairs
Katharina Swoboda
Office of the State Secretary
Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3469