VIENNA (Mar. 22)
The Austrian government’s foreign policy report for 1981 said that the tradition of friendly relations with the Arab world and Israel had continued throughout 1981. It acknowledged that there had been differing opinions between Austria and Israel concerning the question of the Palestinians and the ways and means towards a peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict
The report, presented last week to the press by Foreign Minister Willipad Pahr, also said that the relations with the Palestine Liberation Organization, which Austria recognizes as the legitimate representative of the Palestinians, had not undergone any change. On the other hand, this does not mean that Austria has approved everything the PLO or its representatives have done or said, the report added.
The Austrian foreign policy report differed from a paper recently issued by the Israel Embassy in Washington, which dealt with PLO terrarism in Israel and abroad. That paper held the PLO responsible for the attack on the Jewish Community Center in Vienna last August.
The Austrian report said two men arrested last summer for trying to smuggle arms into Austria belonged to the PLO, but the attackers of the community center did not.
The Austrian report said it is not justifiable to hold the PLO responsible for, or connect it with, attacks by groups which are outside of the PLO and have often attacked the PLO or its representatives.
Foreign Minister Pahr, who briefed the U.S. Administration on the recent visit to Austria by Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, said that U.S. -Austrian relations were not damaged by that visit. It is the duty of a neutral country to talk to any country that wants these talks, Pahr said in defense of Qaddafi’s visit. “Our everlasting neutrality does not mean that we have to remain ideologically neutral,” he added.
Asked if he would visit Israel in the near future, Pahr said he would like to. He recalled that he met Israeli Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir in New York last year and said he would be pleased if Shamir visits Austria.