Qaddafi Visit to Austria Stirs Widespread Criticism

Col. Muammar Qaddafi of Libya met with Chancellor Bruno Kreisky yesterday immediately after his arrival in Austria for an official four-day visit which has been widely criticized in the local press.

Kreisky said after the meeting that their talk had been “serious, constructive, interesting and friendly.” He said he and Qaddafi discussed the world situation and that Kreisky stressed that it was the task of smaller countries — such as Austria–to contribute toward securing peace.

A government spokesman said Qaddafi came to Austria at his own request, although Kreisky was quoted as saying earlier that he had a long-standing invitation. The spokesman noted that Kreisky has twice been invited to Libya but did not go, although he visited that country in 1975.

The media and the opposition parties castigated the Chancellor for receiving the Libyan leader who has been accused of supporting international terrorism and of sending “hit squads” to assassinate President Reagan and other top American officials. Kreisky replied that none of the charges has been proven and he did not entirely believe the claims by the American secret service of an assassination plot.

Qaddafi’s visit is focussing on economic matters. He will inspect the government-owned Voest steel mill which is doing business with Libya. He is scheduled to go to Salzburg but the Governor of the province has refused to meet with him, saying he had other obligations.

Meanwhile, Austrian Foreign Minister Willipad Pahr will go to Washington over the weekend on a visit planned some time ago. He is expected to brief American officials on Qaddafi’s visit to Austria.

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