Vienna, 31 August 2006 Press release

Plassnik: "Austrian armed forces - an integral component of Austria’s peace policy"


Foreign Minister pays tribute to the excellent cooperation with the Federal Government in ensuring the safety of Austrian citizens abroad

Vienna, 31 August 2006 - "Handing over the command to the Command and Control of the Armed Forces constitutes an essential stage in the comprehensive reform of the armed forces. I congratulate Federal Minister Günther Platter and the Austrian Armed Forces on this successful and important step," said Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik today on the occasion of her participation in the formal ceremony in connection with handing over the armed forces’ command at the Maria Theresien Barracks.

This new leadership structure is an expression of the strong commitment of the Austrian Armed Forces to international crisis management. "This will help Austria to continue its current participation in the peace missions in Kosovo, Bosnia, on the Golan Heights and in many other places of the world in a credible manner. For the Ministry for Foreign Affairs the Armed Forces are an essential partner in Austria’s peace policy and an integral component of our commitment in the interest of peace, stability and the protection of human rights. I wish Lieutenant General Günter Höfler, who has a lot of international experience, the best of success in his new responsible task for Austria, Europe and for a more peaceful and just world," said Plassnik.

The Foreign Minister also took this opportunity to thank the Armed Forces once more for their important contribution to the successful organisation of numerous events during Austria’s EU Presidency.

Plassnik also paid tribute to the excellent cooperation between the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of the Interior in joint operations, citing as examples the evacuation of more than 300 Austrian citizens after the outbreak of hostilities in Lebanon and the joint support of Austrian tourists in the Greek areas hit by forest fires. "The security of Austrians abroad is a priority for us which has the active and concerted support of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of the Interior," emphasised Plassnik.

The Foreign Minister also referred to Austria’s efforts to improve crisis management at EU level. "We also attached great importance to the security of European citizens during Austria’s EU Presidency. Consequently, we sought to give priority to specific steps aimed at improving crisis management and strengthening consular cooperation. This is an area in which European cooperation can be seen to be working in practice," concluded Plassnik.

Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Press Department
Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3262, 4549, 4550
Fax: ++43 (0) 50 1159-213