The austrian minister of foreign Affairs, Karin Kneissl, has urged Tuesday the continuation of “strong ties” with Russia, on the occasion of a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow.
The minister related to the far-right party FPÖ, which had caused a scandal in August last year in dancing with the Russian president Vladimir Putin at his wedding, at a time when his country presiding the european Union, has praised the “bilateral relations, traditionally excellent” between Moscow and Vienna.
“We follow the principles of the european Union”, which has introduced a series of sanctions against Moscow since 2014 due to his alleged role in the conflict in ukraine, “but at the same time, we try to maintain strong ties with Russia,” stressed Ms. Kneissl, according to his remarks translated into Russian.
Austria is planning to open a consulate general in St. Petersburg, the second largest city of Russia (north-west), and an honorary consulate in Novosibirsk, in Siberia, she said.
“Austria remained a business partner important for Russia,” assured for his part, Sergei Lavrov.
“We are satisfied with the results of the talks and we will continue close contacts”, he added.
The visit of the head of the diplomacy of the austrian comes four months after an espionage scandal in Austria, where a former colonel has been accused of having worked for decades for the Russian special services.
Revealed beginning of November by the chancellor’s conservative Sebastian Kurz, who had denounced the process “unacceptable,” this case has cast a shadow on the relations austro-russians, hitherto footprints of warmth.
Karin Kneissl had cancelled his planned trip to Moscow in early December and the Kremlin, for its part, deplored the publicity given to this case.
Tuesday, Mrs. Kneissl said that this scandal would not impact on relations between Moscow and Vienna. “Today, we have very well felt that one could separate one thing from another”, stressed the austrian minister.
The participation of Mr Putin at the marriage of Ms. Kneissl was also raised in August to the dismay of the press and of the opposition of austria, who had referred to the damage it could cause to the image of neutrality of Austria.
Vladimir Putin, for its part, had defended a trip as “strictly private” in Austria.
The party FPÖ, which has named Karin Kneissl, the head of the diplomacy of austria, has a cooperation agreement with the united Russia party of Putin’s policy since 2016.