“As a small country, we view pluralism as critical,” says Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who will visit the East River again in three years.
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) began his first trip outside Europe after the pandemic on Sunday. And he flew to New York in the morning, where he wants to complete several appointments with the United Nations starting Monday. Aside from the mask, everything looked as it did before the pandemic Before departure at Vienna Schwechat Airport, several passengers asked the chancellor to take a selfie.
Kurtz answered the question with an emphatic “yes” about whether he had consciously chosen the United States as the destination for his first major post-pandemic trip. He stressed that “Austria is an exporting country and relies heavily on European and international cooperation.” Until now, people have been “traveling a lot” within Europe. The ÖVP chief said the fact that “daily foreign policy contacts” had begun again was “part of the return to normalcy”.
Justifying his visit to the UN headquarters, Kurz said, “As a small country, we view multilateralism as crucial.” Speaking on the topic of planned sustainability on Tuesday, the chancellor said that Austria has been “very successful” in implementing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and has recently moved up to sixth place globally.
In the second half of the week, Kurtz plans to stay in Montana at Rocky Mountain to participate in an informal conference with decision makers from business, media and politics from around the world at the invitation of former Google chief Eric Schmid.
The highlight of the trip to the Big Apple is a meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday and a speech on the topic of sustainability at the UN Economic and Social Council on Tuesday. Kurz also met with Austrian diplomat Volker Türk at the United Nations, who was Guterres’ “right hand” for the Deputy Secretary-General for Strategic Coordination. The Austrian delegation also includes Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Peter Lonsky-Tefenthal, who was Under-Secretary-General for Communications at United Nations Headquarters from 2012 to 2015.
Kurtz is also planning bilateral dates in New York, such as visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art run by Austrian Max Hollen or handing citizenship to descendants of Holocaust victims. The chancellor also plans to meet with businessmen as well as former New York mayor and unlucky Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg. The Wall Street Journal is also scheduled to visit. During his absence for more than a week, the Chancellor in Vienna is represented by Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler (Grenz).
Kurz’s last visit to the United Nations Headquarters in New York was in September 2018, on the occasion of the United Nations General Assembly. The last visit to the United States took place in July 2019. After he was voted out of his position as a consultant, he went on a study trip to IT companies in Silicon Valley. In February 2019, US President Donald Trump received the chancellor at the White House. Another meeting between the two fell victim to the pandemic in March of the previous year.
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