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Foreign Minister Steinmeier in Vienna for bilateral talks Austria

19.06.2014 - Article

On 19 June Foreign Minister Steinmeier met his Austrian counterpart Kurz for bilateral talks.

In-depth discussion of the Ukraine conflict, Iraq and the Western Balkans, close consultations on European affairs, the signing of an agreement on biometric passports – the agenda of Foreign Minister Steinmeier’s visit to Vienna on 19 June was pretty full, yet there was still time to touch on the subject of football.

Handing over the football signed by Germany’s FIFA World Cup team
Handing over the football signed by Germany’s FIFA World Cup team© photothek.net
On the occasion of his belated first visit to Austria since taking office, Foreign Minister Steinmeier presented his counterpart, Sebastian Kurz, on Thursday (19 June) with a football signed by Germany’s FIFA World Cup team.

Close consultations between Germany and Austria

Germany’s and Austria’s bilateral relations were “extremely good”, Steinmeier emphasised on his visit to Vienna, “the capital of one of our most reliable partners in Europe, with whom we consult very closely.”

Close consultations on European issues, the outlook for the Western Balkans and the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine, Syria and Iraq were on the agenda. With regard to Syria and Iraq, Steinmeier stressed that it would be good if at least one of the many conflicts could be resolved.

It was important, he added, to prevent – also with the help of Iraq’s neighbours – any further escalation of the situation there.

We both hope Iraq’s neighbours will not see it as in their interest for the proxy war raging in Syria to spread to Iraq.

New agreement signed on biometric passports

Signing of the passport agreement
Signing of the passport agreement© photothek.net

In Vienna Foreign Ministers Steinmeier and Kurz also signed an agreement between Germany and Austria on biometric passports.

Under this new agreement German and Austrian citizens will be entitled to submit passport applications, complete with the necessary biometric data, also to the authorities of the partner country. These new arrangements will be piloted by the City of Bonn.

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