Alexander Van der Bellen made his second appearance as Austrian Federal President at the UN Leader’s week in New York City from September 24-30, 2018.
On Monday, September 24, President van der Bellen delivered opening remarks at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit, a high-level plenary on global peace. The President acknowledged Nelson Mandela’s achievements and his life-long quest for peace, and also warned that human rights have come under increasing pressure and need to be defended. On the occasion of the Summit, the President also took the opportunity to hold bilateral meetings with several African leaders: Together with Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, he met with the Presidents of Kenia, Uhuru Kenyatta, of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and with Adama Barror of Gambia.
In the afternoon, Van der Bellen enjoyed a tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art by its new director and fellow Austrian Max Hollein. In the evening, Van der Bellen was received by President Trump on the occasion of a diplomatic reception held at the New York Palace Hotel.
On Tuesday, September 25, President Van der Bellen, together with Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl, attended the opening of the 73rd General Assembly at the UN headquarters, followed by more bilateral meetings, including the President of Ruanda, Paul Kagame, and the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. In addition, the President and Foreign Minister Kneissl also met with King Abdullah II of Jordan.
On Wednesday, September 26, the President held a bilateral meeting with the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. On the occasion, Van der Bellen emphasized the importance of a continued dialogue with Turkey, also in the light of the economic ties between our two countries.
Furthermore, the President also participated in the One Planet Summit with its initiator, the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, and former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, before heading to a reception on the occasion of Austrian-American Day, hosted by the Austrian Consulate-General in New York.
Before returning to Austria, President Van der Bellen, accompanied by Foreign Minister Kneissl, also visited Park East Synagogue, where they were greeted by the Viennese-born Rabbi Arthur Schneier who had to escape from Austria in 1938, survived the Holocaust in Hungary, and emigrated to the United States in 1947. Among the topics discussed were anti-Semitism in Europe, as well as contemporary issues facing Europe today, including the upcoming election of the European Parliament.