Vienna, 21 October 2004 Press release

Foreign Minister Plassnik met Israel's President Katzav


"A special meeting on a special day"

Vienna, 20 October 2004 - Austria's newly appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs Ursula Plassnik described today's meeting with the Israeli President Moshe Katzav as a "special meeting on a special day".

The meeting took place at the Parliament building just two hours after her swearing-in ceremony. "It was important for me to have an initial exchange of views with President Katzav, especially as Austria's relations with the countries of the Middle East will be a priority of my activities as Foreign Minister", said Ursula Plassnik.

This priority represents not only the continuation of a long-standing Austrian tradition but is also in line with the country's interests, particularly as a Member State of the European Union, the new Minister for Foreign Affairs continued. Europe had a strong interest in the pacification and stabilisation of the Middle East, and Austria would bring her excellent relations with the countries of the region as well as her wide-ranging experience and understanding of the region's problems to this process.

Foreign Minister Plassnik expressed her pleasure at the full normalisation of relations between Austria and Israel and affirmed Austria's responsibility arising from her past and the measures the country has taken and is continuing to take in order to fulfil her historical responsibility.