From September 23-27, 2018, the Austrian Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz was in New York for the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly. He joined Austrian Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen, together with Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl, to meet with UN Secretary General António Guterres.
Among the topics discussed during this bilateral meeting was the seven-year-conflict in Syria, as Austria fully supports Special Envoy Staffan De Mistura, and the UN’s efforts to a political solution in this region. More generally, the Austrian delegation reaffirmed Austria’s shared priorities with the UN: strengthening multilateralism and expanding global engagement on issues such as climate action and non-proliferation.
Chancellor Kurz also extended an invitation to attend next year’s 40th anniversary celebrations of the Vienna International Center, home to the Vienna office of the UN. Since 1979, Vienna is one of four United Nations headquarters worldwide: About 3.600 people from all over the world are working for the Vienna based specialized organizations such as IAEA, UNIDO or the CTBTO Preparatory Commission and for UN programs such as UNODC.
On September 26, 2018, Chancellor Kurz joined a high-level plenary meeting at the UN General Assembly to commemorate the International Day of the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. In his remarks, he stressed Austria’s commitment to achieve a nuclear-free world by promoting nuclear disarmament and reminded of Austria’s contribution to creating the historic “Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons”, which was adopted in 2017 and signed by Austria as one of the first UN member states. (#throwback)
Kurz also joined President Van der Bellen at his meetings with Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya, and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana. As Austria will host a High Level Forum Africa-Europe in Vienna on December 18, 2018, they discussed the co-organization of this event with Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and Chairperson of the African Union. This forum will focus on development cooperation, innovation and digitization.
In addition, Chancellor Kurz discussed the High Level Forum Africa-Europe with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, who gave assurances of his support.
The Chancellor furthermore discussed global and European economic developments, as well as the Austrian economy, with yet another “Washingtonian”, the Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde.
Furthermore, Chancellor Kurz and the President of the European Council Donald Tusk met with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi: They talked about taking forward the possible cooperation on migration issues after the informal Salzburg Summit in the context of the Austrian presidency of the Council of the European Union as well as about preparations of the joint EU-League of Arab States’ Summit in Cairo in February 2019.
On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Chancellor Kurz held bilateral meetings with the Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and with the Prime Minister of Georgia Mamuka Bakhtadze.
Kurz also sat down with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and briefed him about further steps by the Austrian government and parliament to reflect their appreciation for the Jewish community, the memory of the Holocaust and the struggle against anti-Semitism.
For his sincere commitment to combating the dangerous manifestations of anti-Semitism rising across Europe, and his unwavering support for the Jewish community in Austria, Chancellor Kurz was honored by World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder at a reception at the Neue Galerie, a museum for German and Austrian art on the Upper East Side.
Chancellor Kurz also discussed matters of mutual interest in a separate meeting with David Harris, CEO of the American Jewish Committee whose Global Forum - organized for the first time ever in Jerusalem - was addressed by Sebastian Kurz in June 2018.
During his week in New York, Chancellor Kurz also had a personal exchange with elder statesman Henry Kissinger.
Furthermore, Kurz stopped by the newsroom of Bloomberg, a financial news and media company headquartered in Midtown Manhattan, where he discussed matters of mutual interest with its founder Michael Bloomberg, the former three-term mayor of New York City.