Austrian chancellor assures stance on Kosovo won't change

A political storm in Vienna caused by the Austrian vice-chancellor's statement that Kosovo is a part of Serbia is not dying down, Tanjug is reporting.

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(EPA, file)
(EPA, file)

Speaking ahead of Wednesday's session of his cabinet, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said Austria was "a friend that supports the Western Balkans and is trying to contribute to the normalization of Belgrade-Pristina relations."

When asked whether Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache's commitment "to supporting one side" had weakened Austria's "position as mediator" - Strache responded instead of Kurz to deny this claim, and emphasize that he "had understanding for both sides," but at the same time noted that, when he speaks about the real state of affairs, he always faces accusations of being one-sided.

"The Serbian view is different from that of Kosovo. Also, five EU states have not recognized Kosovo," Strache recalled, adding that the problem has, unfortunately, not been resolved sustainably.

Kurz said that he did not see Strache's statement as causing any kind of damage, and pointed out that he had "excellent contacts with both Serbia and Kosovo."

"Austria recognized Kosovo a long time ago and this stance will not change in the future," Kurz concluded.

On the other hand, the opposition NEOS party requested today a meeting of the Foreign Policy Council due to "multiple foreign policy outbursts" they say the vice-chancellor had made.

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