Vienna, 17. October 2008 Press release

Plassnik on UN elections: "Impressive proof of confidence of international community of states"

"Perfect example of common Austrian foreign policy"

New York, 17 October 2008 – "Austria has made it! We have been elected to become one of the 10 non-permanent members of the UN Security Council for the next two years," emphasised Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik following today’s decision by the UN General Assembly to entrust Austria with a seat in the UN Security Council for the period 2009-2010. Austria has won 133 votes already in the first round and therefore the necessary two thirds of the votes required for a seat. In these elections Austria has had two strong competitors, namely Turkey and Iceland as the representative of the Nordic states. We shall work together closely with our partner Turkey in a spirit of partnership. Turkey has earned much respect in recent months for its committed mediation initiatives in its neighbourhood - the Middle East and the Caucasus," according to Plassnik.

"I should like to thank all those representatives of states who placed their trust in Austria in this election. In this way they have expressed their recognition of Austria as a reliable, active and responsible partner of the world community. Austria has earned this acknowledgement through its commitment to the United Nations over many decades.  We shall undertake every effort to live up to the trust placed in us," stated Plassnik.

"In our work for the Security Council we shall focus on those principles which have always characterised our commitment to the UN: a determined commitment to dialogue, unflinching support for human rights and the rule of law, and persistent endeavours aimed at disarmament and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons," added the Minister.

"If we don’t want to leave the shaping of our world to the big states, medium-sized states like Austria, in particular, must be prepared to assume concrete responsibility. In this spirit today’s decision is also a sign of encouragement to all those who are committed to multilateralism. Indeed, we can only find common solutions to global challenges if we cooperate effectively," affirmed Plassnik.

The Minister emphasised that the candidacy for the seat in the Security Council – irrespective of the result – had been an important cross-party project. "I express my thanks to all those in Austria who have personally supported this Austrian endeavour for many months, above all Federal President Heinz Fischer, Federal Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer, Vice-Chancellor Wilhelm Molterer, State Secretary Hans Winkler and all the other members of the Austrian Federal Government. This success is a perfect example of the common foreign policy we will all continue to have to strive for in Austria in the future," stated Plassnik.

"My special thanks go to the worldwide network of Austrian diplomacy, who have been  promoting Austria’s candidacy in all partner countries for a number of years now - above all our Ambassador to the UN, Gerhard Pfanzelter, and his team in New York, and the Political Director of the Ministry for European and International Affairs and future UN Ambassador Thomas Mayr-Harting," concluded the Foreign Minister.

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