Subscription and demo access


 
About Interfax
Press Releases
Products & Services
Contact us
Customer Login
 


Headlines
 

05/22 14:48   Audit Chamber not planning to alter existing audit schedule - Kudrin
 
05/22 14:40   Sberbank, Emirates NBD sign definitive agreement on sale of 99.85% of Denizbank (Part 2)
 
05/22 14:39   Kudrin promises impartial, transparent oversight in execution of Russia's strategic development goals
 
05/22 14:38   Bashneft to invest 100 bln rubles to develop three refineries in Bashkortostan
 
05/22 14:37   RDIF, Vietnam's TH Group to invest $630 mln in dairy production in two regions - Dmitriev
 
05/22 14:29   Conceptual design of Husky sub ready - USC
 
05/22 14:28   Moscow looking forward to Bulgarian PM's visit - Putin
 
05/22 14:28   Putin's Q&A session to have new features in 2018 - Peskov
 
05/22 14:27   Two members of Navalny's Moscow team charged with repeat violations of rally rules
 
05/22 14:26   Situation surrounding Iran nuclear deal could destabilize Middle East - Russian diplomat (Part 2)
 



 Subscription
You can access a demo version of, recieve more information about or subscribe to Interfax publications by filling in and sending the form below.

First name:


Last name:


Company:


Division:


E-mail:


Phone:


Country:


City:


Please enter the digits in the box below:

 

Interfax.com  |  Interviews  |  Sebastian Kurz: Long-term peace in Europe will only be possible with Russia and...



Interviews


February 28, 2018

Sebastian Kurz: Long-term peace in Europe will only be possible with Russia and not against


Ahead of his visit to Moscow newly-elected Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has given an interview to Olga Golovanova for Interfax. In the interview he speaks about his expectations from the upcoming meeting with the Russian president, his vision of solving the energy-security problem in Europe, the migration crisis, and explains conditions under which some sanctions could be lifted from Russia.

Question: Mr. Kurz, you are visiting Russia for the first time in your new capacity. What is Russias role in Austrias foreign policy priorities? What are your expectations from the upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin? Since 2018 has been declared the Russian-Austrian cross year of music, let me use a musical metaphor: what is needed for a Viennese waltz between partners like our two countries to be a success?

Answer: We are very worried about the high level of tensions between the East and the West. As a neutral country, Austria has always been a bridge-builder between the East and the West and a place for dialogue, as the Iran and Syria talks have shown. Austria will therefore strive to foster open and constructive dialogue as a basis to find common solutions to the challenges we face. Rebuilding trust was also a priority of the Austrian OSCE Chairmanship last year. My meeting with president Putin is therefore primarily aimed at discussing how we can rebuild trust. We will also talk about issues such as Russia-EU relations in general, the conflict in and around Ukraine as well the situation in Syria. I am convinced that in the long-term peace in Europe will only be possible with Russia and not against Russia.

Q.: What is your assessment of the current state of Russian-Austrian economic cooperation, what does the future hold, and what areas need strengthening? Will the topic of energy be on the summits agenda? Is Austria going to try to influence such EU countries as Denmark, Sweden, and Poland, the main critics of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, so that they take a more constructive stance on the project and on reaching an agreement?

A.: We will of course also discuss the state of our good bilateral relations, encompassing our economic relations. Austrian companies have so far invested over 5 bn in Russia. With respect to energy it is important to diversify our energy supply routes as well as our energy sources, the North Stream 2 should be seen in this context. So far the EU imports around 2/3 of the gas it needs, so it is clear that we should also diversify our supply routes. In Austria we are furthermore also proud that renewable energies make up around 1/3 of our national energy mix and that we reject the use of nuclear energy.

Q.: Last year, Austria presided in the OSCE, which is involved in trying to reach a Ukrainian settlement. Looking back, do you think there has been progress, or has the conflict in eastern Ukraine gotten closer to being frozen? What else can the OSCE do, given that Ukraine has become even more radical recently, with attacks on the office of Rossotrudnichestvo and offices of Russian banks in Kyiv taking place without any response from police, Kyiv has been dragging out the implementation of the Minsk Agreements but is in active talks with the United States over supplies of lethal weapons, including Javelin anti-tank systems?

A.: During my first visit as OSCE Chairman to eastern Ukraine in January last year I saw the unacceptable situation for civilians there. We must improve the living conditions for the local population, especially along the contact line. For this, access of humanitarian organizations is crucial. The level of violence that we still see is unacceptable. It remains vital that all sides fully implement the Minsk Agreements and strictly respect the ceasefire to which they have repeatedly committed themselves. In this respect, the OSCEs Monitoring Mission (SMM) plays an important role to monitor the ceasefire and avoid a further escalation of the conflict. I am glad that we managed during our Chairmanship to reach an agreement about enlarging the missions footprint thereby increasing the reach and accuracy of monitoring. Furthermore, the OSCE with its Trilateral Contact Group demonstrated its crucial role in brokering the ceasefire co-operation.

Q.: Mr. Kurz, you have spent a lot of time working on migration issues over the course of your career. What is your assessment of the current migration situation in Austria and Europe in general? Is there dialogue between Austria and Russia on these topics? Should it be expanded, especially ahead of the 2018 World Cup? Are you ready to share your formula for success? And allow me to ask one more question: what is your assessment of Russias initiatives on Syria, such as the congress in Sochi?

A.: The migration crisis isnt over yet, just look at the projected demographic development on the African continent, only the numbers of illegal migrants arriving in the EU has decreased last year, and this is a positive development. But we still have to work hard to create a new European asylum system and secure our external borders. We, not the people smugglers, have to decide who is allowed to come to Europe. In order to achieve this we also need to provide more development cooperation in the countries of origin. It should be clear: those who try to enter the EU illegally should be rescued at sea and then sent back to their countries of origin or to safe zones in third countries, but not get a ticket to the EU. With respect to the conflict in Syria I fully support the mediation efforts of UN Special Envoy de Mistura whom I met just a few weeks ago during the last round of Syria talks in Vienna. There can only be a political solution for the conflict in Syria.

Q.: Austria will be presiding in the EU starting this July. Are you going to seek easing or lifting EU sanctions against Russia during the Austrian presidency, especially given that similar proposals have recently been voiced more frequently, particular in your neighbor, Germany?

A.: Russia is an important neighbor for the European Union. Fostering dialogue between Russia and the EU on various issues, ranging from foreign policy to human rights and civil society, is therefore in our mutual interest. Meetings between High Representative Federica Mogherini and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are important in this regard. While we support the EU-sanctions in place against Russia, we want to be helpful in finding a peaceful solution for the crisis in and around Ukraine through the implementation of the Minsk agreements. We need to create positive incentives in this regard, as the former German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has proposed. If we see substantial progress with respect to the implementation of the Minsk agreements, we should consider lifting some of the EU-sanctions currently in place.



Interviews
 

.
The director of the Executive Committee of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure, Yevgeny Sysoyev, gave an interview to Interfax in which he discussed threats that Russia and the world face in the light of ISILs transformation, as well as the structures achievements in the fight against terrorism.

more
.
.
Palestinian Ambassador to Russia Abdel Hafiz Nofal has given an interview to Interfax correspondent Veronika Vishnyakova ahead of a visit of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to Russia in which he speaks about the main topics of the upcoming Russian-Palestinian summit, prospects for the Palestinian-Israeli settlement and the initiative of creating a new mediating mechanism for the Palestinian-Israeli settlement.

more
.
.
U.S. Ambassador to Russian Jon Huntsman, who arrived on his mission to Moscow last fall, has given an interview to chief of the Interfax‘s foreign political desk Olga Golovanova ahead of the publication of the so-called "Kremlin dossier". He called on to take this report without emotions and expressed Washington‘s desire to work together with Moscow on the elimination of sanctions. He also confirmed U.S. commitment to the New START Treaty and cut short suggestions that Washington may quit INF Treaty. He also said about what should happen for a U.S.-Russian summit take place.

more
.
.
Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Office Vladimir Voronkov, who was appointed to the post six months ago, has given his first big interview to Interfax. He discussed tasks that the UN Counter-Terrorism Office faces in countering global terrorism.

more
.
.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has given an interview to Interfax in which he sums up the foreign policy events of the outgoing year and tells of Russias diplomatic priorities in 2018.

more
.
.
OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger has given an interview to Interfax correspondent Margarita Velekhova ahead of a meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council that will take place in December. Greminger, who assumed his office this July, has told about the OSCE activity amidst the exacerbation of relations between Russia and the West, particularly, the United States, as well as the organizations activity in Ukraine and the agenda of the upcoming Ministerial Council in Vienna.

more
.
.
Famous diplomat and political analyst, last U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union Jack Matlock has given an interview to Interfax in which he speaks about the first year of U.S. President Donald Trump in power and relations between Russia and the United States.

more

 
  
 ©   1991—2018   Interfax Information Service. All rights reserved.
contact information   |   Interfax offices   |   made by web.finmarket

News and other data on this site are provided for information purposes only, and are not intended for republication or redistribution. Republication or redistribution of Interfax content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Interfax.

Browse other Interfax sites:  Interfax.ru   |   IFX.RU   |   Interfax Group   Rambler's Top100