Austrian Official Denies Making Anti-zionist Remark on Waldheim

A ranking Austrian government official has flatly denied that he had told the Kuwaiti News Agency that Austria “will not succumb to Zionist threats and pressures to remove President Kurt Waldheim from his office.”

Thomas Klestil, secretary general of the Austrian Foreign Ministry and its No. 2 man after Foreign Minister Alois Mock, told the Vienna news magazine Profil that the Kuwaiti News Agency, Kuna, probably mixed up its question with his answer in its report published while Klestil was visiting the Persian Gulf states earlier this month.

On the basis of that report, which was picked up by a major news service, the World Jewish Congress accused Klestil of “a shocking attempt to incite anti-Jewish hatred in an Arab country.”

Klestil, a former Austrian ambassador to the United States, said he had told Kuna in an interview only that Waldheim has no reason to resign, having been democratically elected.

In New York, Elan Steinberg, WJC executive director, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency Wednesday that Klestil should “address his corretion to the Kuwaiti News Agency. When it appears there, it will be accepted.”

Steinberg added, “We know Mr. Klestil as the Austrian official who for more than a year attempted to obstruct American justice by trying to block the Justice Department’s placement of Kurt Waldheim on its ‘watch list.’ “

Waldheim has been barred from entry into the United States in his official capacity, because of his Nazi past.

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