Austria confirms maintenance of unofficial communication channel with Russia

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said that the Austrian authorities maintain an unofficial channel of communication with Russia and support the continuation of dialogue with Moscow, despite the Ukrainian conflict.

This is stated in Shallenberg’s interview with Die Welt, published today, on Monday, where the minister said: “The West must continue to talk to Russia, as the American government does,” and the minister believes that international forums should be used. for further negotiations with Russia, such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the UN, while Schallenberg sees this as an “international responsibility” that falls on Western countries.

Schallenberg stressed that Vienna continues to communicate with Moscow through unofficial channels, adding that “Russia has not disappeared from the map and is the largest geographical neighbor of the European Union and the largest nuclear power on the planet.”

According to the Austrian minister, he does not intend to refuse a handshake when meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, because it is required by the rules of diplomatic conduct, and added that the matter “will be very difficult” for him. but he cannot choose his interlocutors, and in connection with this the minister declared that he could keep to a minimum. In accordance with the requirement of diplomatic etiquette, the minister would probably shake hands “for a while, no more.”

Source: TASS

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