Baku, 23. June 2010 Press release

Spindelegger: "New base camp for Austria"

Foreign Minister opens Embassy and Austrian Library in Baku together with Economy Minister

Baku, 23 June 2010 - "The Black Sea and Caucasus Region is becoming increasingly important both politically and economically as a point of intersection between Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Russia. Our objective is to make Austria more visible on the political, economic, and cultural map in this promising region. This double opening of an Austrian Embassy and an Austrian Library represent concrete steps in this direction. We are thus creating a base camp for Austrians in the Region“, said Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger during the opening of the Austrian Embassy and the Austrian Library in Baku, in the presence of the Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister, the Economy Minister Reinhold Mitterlehner, and some 40 Austrian businessmen and journalists.

"With this Embassy, we have a full and permanent diplomatic presence in the region for the first time. I am particularly glad that we were able to implement this strategic reorientation in our representation network despite an austerity programme", the Foreign Minister continued.

"As a result of the most recent EU enlargement, the Black Sea and Caucasus region has become a neighbouring region of the European Union. Therefore, stability and security in the region are in our own interest. We intend to make a contribution toward this together with our partners. Especially in times of economic crisis, this region can become a special pole of growth. The Embassy’s intention is to provide initial assistance for businesses“, explained the Foreign Minister. "This new representation will also help improve our consular protection network for Austrians in the world. Now we are also in a position to provide concrete assistance to citizens travelling in this region who find themselves in an emergency situation.

"We want to intensify our cooperation on all levels. Therefore, intensive interpersonal, cultural, and scientific exchange is of particular importance for us. The new Austrian Library is an important initial step in this direction. After the openings in Istanbul, Samsun, Iasi and Tiflis, we thus continue to enlarge our 'Black Sea cluster' of Austrian Libraries", said Spindelegger. The Austrian Library in Baku is incorporated in the university and contains more than 2,000 books, DVDs, and CDs, which will help Azerbaijani students in their study of the German language and of Austrian literature, geography, and history.

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