Austria at the United Nations General Assembly

On September 22, 2019, Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen (left) and Federal Chancellor Brigitte Bierlein (right) meet with UN Secretary General António Guterres (center) in New York City on the occasion of the 74th UN General Assembly.   Photo: Austrian Federal Chancellery/ Andy Wenzel

On September 22, 2019, Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen (left) and Federal Chancellor Brigitte Bierlein (right) meet with UN Secretary General António Guterres (center) in New York City on the occasion of the 74th UN General Assembly.

Photo: Austrian Federal Chancellery/ Andy Wenzel

The 74th General Assembly of the United Nations took place in New York City during September 2019, and Austria was represented in high-level meetings by Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen, Federal Chancellor Brigitte Bierlein, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Schallenberg, and Federal Minister for the Environment Maria Patek.

President Alexander Van der Bellen accompanied 17 year-old Austrian student and Fridays for Future - activist Anika Dafert to the Youth Climate Summit, which preceded the UN’s 2019 Climate Action Summit, and visited the Brooklyn Grange Roof Top Farm. During a conversation with UN Secretary General António Guterres, President Alexander Van der Bellen emphasized that Austria supports the UN’s commitment in the climate crisis and also underlined Vienna’s strong role as a United Nations host city.

In addition, The Federal President held talks with the President of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald S. Lauder, at Neue Galerie and discussed topics including developments in Austrian politics, as well as the political situation in Israel and in the United States.

Federal Chancellor Brigitte Bierlein praised the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a substantial civilisatory progress: “ The existing challenges can only be overcome through broad, common partnerships.” In addition, Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg underlined that Austria is committed to reaching the sustainable development goals by 2030.

Furthermore, Chancellor Bierlein delivered a talk entitled Freedom, Security & the Rule of Law - a European Perspective at Columbia University, emphasizing that absolute security and absolute freedom do not exist: “The fight against terrorism and the maintenance of world peace and international security illustrate the stress ratio between the basic rights of freedom and security. Terrorism and any kind of global criminal enterprise must be combated; at the same time, however, personal freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, freedom of employment and electoral freedom must be protected,” the Chancellor explained.

Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg addressed the UN General Assembly on Thursday, September 26, 2019, met with UN Secretary General António Guterres and also held bilateral talks with the foreign ministers from Belarus, Irak, Iran, and also with the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross. A particular focus of these meetings was on the arc of crisis in the wider European neighborhood. The Austrian Foreign Minister also participated in a network meeting for the International Criminal Court and in the meeting of the International Alliance for Multilateralism. 

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